• Mon 5 Dec, 2016
  • 02:35 GMT
  • 22:35 ET (GMT-4)
  • 04:35 CET (GMT+2)

Four to follow on Saturday

Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up four tips to consider at Newbury on Saturday. View selections below.

HEAVY showers are playing havoc with advance going forecasts but the anticipated easy ground at Newbury this weekend will not inconvenience BROWN PANTHER (2.30) in the Betfred Geoffrey Freer Stakes.

The Group 3 contest over 1m 5f has attracted a small but select field and Brown Panther will be hard to beat if repeating his grand effort in the King George when seventh, beaten around four lengths, behind Danedream.

He flopped on his comeback at Chester’s May meeting but proved that running all wrong by stretching clear to score by seven lengths at Pontefract next time. Brown Panther has three lengths to make up on St Leger form with last year’s Doncaster hero Masked Marvel. However, the ground was quick that day and Masked Marvel was well behind Brown Panther at Ascot last time.

Soft ground would be perfect for powerful galloper Harris Tweed, winner of the John Porter Stakes here in April, but very disappointing at Newmarket last month when dropping away tamely. He has something to prove now. Progressive Mount Athos takes another step up the ladder and would be a threat granted decent underfoot conditions.

SOUL (3.05) sluiced through the Newbury mud to score by four lengths last month, building on his excellent fourth to Black Caviar at Royal Ascot, and is fancied to bag the Group 2 Betfred Hungerford Stakes. Now with Godolphin, Soul was a winner over today’s trip of seven furlongs in his native Australia (heavy).

Richard Hannon’s very smart Strong Suit has been waiting in vain for quicker ground all summer and would be a big danger if the rain stays away. John Oxx doesn’t send runners across the Irish Sea on a wild goose chase and his talented filly Alanza should go well at an each-way price, having performed with credit in the Group 1 Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket.

COMMEND (4.55) is one of Sir Michael Stoute’s lesser lights but is going the right way. The Pivotal gelding was a beaten favourite at Ripon in May but, after a nice break, picked off a Carlisle maiden three weeks ago. This isn’t the strongest 1m 2f handicap to be run in the south and Commend is bred to handle some cut in the ground.

SHADES OF GREY (5.25) has a terrific record at Newbury (1141 on her last four visits) and must go well in the lady amateur riders’ handicap. Clive Cox’s mare was reeled in by Sula Two at Bath 11 days ago after kicking on a long way out and less aggressive tactics will probably be employed by Rachel King, whose only ride on Shades Of Grey was a winning one here last October. Easy Bath winner The Quarterjack looks the one to beat, with Serena Brotherton a good booking.

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