Former Talksport man Charlie McCann marks your card with six to follow on Saturday at Newcastle and The Curragh. View selections below
The Northumberland Plate, one of the most prestigious races in the horseracing calendar, is the big betting race of the weekend and the highlight of Newcastle’s excellent card this afternoon. Last month’s Chester Cup might hold the key and runner up Angel Gabrial (3.50) is 4lb better off with winner Suegioo, taking into account jockey George Chaloner’s 3lb claim, has a good draw in stall one and looks a worthy favourite.
The selection was forced to sit and suffer for much of the race at Chester but made his ground up impressively from the rear before being run out of it close home. If his young and talented apprentice can get a decent position in the short run to the first turn he must go close if in the same mood. Anything from good to firm to good to soft ground would be fine and Clerk Of The Course James Armstrong suggested on Friday morning that there was no significant rain forecast as there was for much of Britain.
The opener looks a match between Al Gomry and Short N Sweet (1.35) who meet again having both made very promising debuts at York last time. Preference is for the latter who was largely ignored in the betting (20/1) but showed plenty of dash and finished a length ahead of Al Gomry who wasn’t the best away from the stalls. Paul Hanagan takes the ride on Al Gomry again and he is likely to be a very warm order to reverse the form, but I was advised that Short N Sweet was a decent filly before her trip to the Knavesmire and she will be a tough nut to crack.
In the sprint keep an eye on Picture Dealer who comes good at this time of year and is hinting at a return to form for his new yard. I’m not convinced his draw in stall one is ideal, however, and Mississippi (2.05) looks to have been laid out for this race for David Barron and finished in front of Picture Dealer at Doncaster on his belated reappearance. Graham Gibbons rides stablemate Tarooq so Silvestre De Sousa takes the mount for the first time and at 16/1 with BetVictor he can reward each way support.
Saayeer (2.40) was a Group 2 winner as a juvenile and escapes a penalty for his Richmond Stakes success at Goodwood back in August. He has not been seen since finishing fourth in the 7f Free Handicap, wearing a hood for the first time, back in April and connections dispense with the headgear dropping back a furlong this afternoon. Trained by inform William Haggas his Richmond victory was hardly a vintage renewal but he has been given plenty of time to come to hand following his Newmarket reverse and can score for the classic generation.
Foxtrot Romeo (3.15) has never fulfilled the promise of his second in the Irish 2000 Guineas a couple of years ago, but hinted at a return to form when second at York from a 3lb lower mark earlier in the month for Marco Botti. He has not won since his racecourse debut at Hamilton but has only had thirteen subsequent starts and he did seem to appreciate the first time cheek-pieces on the Knavesmire last time.
Four of David Simcock’s last five runners, at the time of writing, have finished first or second and this might be the time to follow the stables’ runners. It might be a mistake to select Erroneous (5.00) but the gelding will enjoy the ground, has excellent apprentice Oisin Murphy taking off a valuable 3lbs and looks sure to go close in a tricky finale.
Seven go to post for the Irish Derby at the Curragh and as long as the ground stays good or faster it is hard to see past Derby winner Australia (5.30) who looked a potential superstar at Epsom. Kingston Hill, runner up in the premier colts’ classic, re-opposes but he would surely need the heavens to open to have a realistic chance of reversing the form with Aidan O’Brien’s three-year-old.