Former Talksport man Charlie McCann marks your card with six to follow on Saturday at Newcastle, Newmarket and the The Curragh. View selections below
Only one place to start and that is with today’s Northumberland Plate which is likely to be the last ever renewal run on turf before an all-weather surface is installed at Gosforth Park. The “Pitmens Derby” is nearly 200 years old and let’s hope the 2016 renewal is as competitive as this year’s renewal.
The draw was kind to Brian Ellison’s Seamour at Haydock last time when he sauntered around the inside to beat stablemate Totalize; the former is 8lbs higher today and the pair were drawn 2 and 1 in that two mile contest.
Seamour is drawn twenty-two of 22 this afternoon and I feel that might scupper his chances and he has drifted out to 9/1 with BetVictor as the money has arrived for Quest For More (stall 3) and Gabrial’s King (8).
The latter certainly is a fascinating contender but stablemate Angel Gabrial (3.45) is only7lbs higher than when winning the corresponding event last year and looked to be coming to hand when third to Clever Cookie (5lbs worse off) at York last time. The latter missed the Ascot Gold Cup on account of the prevailing fast ground last week but trainer Peter Niven and jockey Graham Lee have suggested that Thursday’s rain may allow them to run this afternoon.
At 16/1 with BetVictor I hope Angel Gabrial becomes the first horse since Tug Of War back in 1977/78 to win the race back-to-back although Tominator won the race twice in three years recently in 2011 and 2013.
Another winner on last year’s card was Danzeno (2.00) and he can also follow up (7/4 at BetVictor) last year’s success for Mick Appleby. The selection ran a terrific race on his reappearance his first start at the minimum trip and that should have put him spot on for today.
At Newmarket Karl Burke saddles Katie’s Diamond (2.50) in the listed Empress Stakes and, although it was only a modest Redcar maiden she won on debut, she was described as the best Burke had through his hands at this stage of her career. This doesn’t look the strongest of listed contests and she is taken to maintain her unbeaten record.
Code Red (3.35) put up a tremendous performance at Epsom last time considering he pulled jockey Martin Dwyer’s arms out in the early stages and he can follow up in the Criterion Stakes. The classic generation have only won one of the last ten renewals of the contest but Willie Muir’s colt receives 9lbs weight-for-age allowance from his elders.
I think Richard Of Yorke (4.35) will be suited by a mile-and-a-half in time but he can take the 10f handicap for Luca Cumani and Andrea Atzeni; the selection was a 14/1 winner at Windsor on debut and that form has been franked by the runner up’s subsequent 15l win at Lingfield last month.
The Irish Derby is the Curragh highlight and I will be disappointed if Jack Hobbs (6.30) can’t go one better than he did at Epsom when second to stablemate Golden Horn at the beginning of the month. Aidan O’Brien has saddled eight of the last nine winners of his home Derby and it would appear that Highland Reel is the stable first-string with Ryan Moore booked.
Sovereign Debt will appreciate the step back up to a mile in the Celebration Stakes abut he must give 13lbs to Royal Ascot winner War Envoy (4.45) and that is likely to be beyond Dandy Nicholls’ charge.