Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up six tips at Chester, Newcastle and Newmarket on Saturday. View selections below.
UNEXPECTED heavy rain at Newcastle on Thursday afternoon/Friday turned the met office’s prediction for dry weather on its head, and that has boosted the chances of MOIDORE (3.15) in the John Smith’s Northumberland Plate. John Quinn’s son of Galileo has bags of solid soft-ground runs in the formbook and his second behind Well Sharp at York’s Dante meeting (soft) was well advertised when the winner went in again at Royal Ascot (Mubaraza fourth). The four-year-old has something to find with Ardlui on an earlier outing at Ripon but Moidore tried to make all that day, tactics which were patently unsuitable.
Tominator, the 2011 winner when in the care of the late Reg Hollinshead, should go well under top weight for Jonjo O’Neill and remains closely matched with Stan James Chester Cup hero Address Unknown and runner-up Ingleby Spirit. Arch Villain was top of my shortlist until drawing the worst box of all in stall 22. Amanda Perrett won this historic handicap with Bangalore in 2002 and Tungsten Strike chased home Sergeant Cecil three years ago, so it is easy to imagine Arch Villain has been prepared for another stable assault on the Pitmen’s Derby. Sun Central’s connections will be cursing the rain as his winning form has come on slick surfaces (ditto Montaser) but last year’s winner Ile De Re won’t mind and races off the same mark.
The heavens have opened in time for JACK DEXTER (2.05) in the Group 3 Chipchase Stakes over six furlongs. Jim Goldie’s rising star produced a career-best effort at Royal Ascot, finishing strongly into fourth in the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes. That was run over five furlongs and the combination of soft ground and an extra furlong should see a return to the winner’s circle. Hitchens has a Group 3 penalty to shoulder and finished three lengths behind Jack Dexter in the Cammidge Trophy at Doncaster (soft). Justineo may be the chief threat.
DIESCENTRIC (3.50) should go close in the Betfred-sponsored 7f handicap. Julie Camacho’s six-year-old displayed a smart turn of foot to collar Rex Imperator over the same specialist distance at Doncaster and a 6lb rise may not prevent a follow-up. Santefisio ran two cracking races at Royal Ascot but has gone up another 4lb and would prefer faster ground.
Godolphin’s AL MANAAL (5.20) is an interesting runner in the finale. The filly looked a fast-improving three-year-old at Brighton, scooting clear to win her maiden by eight lengths. A 73-rated rival was another eight lengths adrift in third and, despite reservations about the inexperienced 7lb claimer on top, hopefully this will be a steering job.
At Chester, PINTRADA (3.55) will be hard to beat if reproducing his run at Thirsk 11 days ago when coming from well off the pace to throw down a strong challenge at the furlong pole. Pintrada found gutsy frontrunner Fennell Bay too tough a nut to crack close home but a 2lb rise isn’t insurmountable.
At Newmarket, Luca Cumani’s ABILENE (5.05) finds herself 9lb better off with Heading North on their running behind Sir Michael Stoute’s Centred at Pontefract. She won a Kempton maiden by five lengths on her only other start and remains open to improvement.
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