Former Talksport man Charlie McCann marks your card with eight to follow on Saturday at Newcastle, The Curragh and Newmarket. View selections below:
Plate Day at Gosforth Park begins with a 5f event for two-year-olds and, despite giving weight away to his ten rivals, it is hard to get away from last month’s C&D winner Poet’s Society (1.55) who subsequently ran well in defeat at Musselburgh in, arguably, a better race than today’s. James Doyle was in the plate when making all for last month’s fluent success, and he is likely to be hard to pass.
Trainer Mark Johnston can double up in the Group 3 Chipchase Stakes courtesy of Buratino (2.30) who swerved the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot on account of the prevailing soft ground; the selection won at Chelmsford on debut last March so has shown he can handle an all-weather surface and I thought he travelled like a class act for much of the race when forth to subsequent Commonwealth Cup winner Quiet Reflection last time; the selection is 4/1 at BetVictor and that looks a decent each way price.
Jamie Spencer takes over on The Cashel Man (3.40) and this progressive stayer made an encouraging return when second at York over today’s 2m trip and he can reward each way support (10/1 at BetVictor) for the Consolation race for the Plate. The selection has yet to run on an all-weather surface although his full brother (Thunder Pass) did run well at Kempton without winning.
The likely favourite is Dannyday (11/2) and this Chelmsford winner is proven on an artificial surface but I am worried about stall 16 although I must admit there is little evidence that a high draw will be a negative on the new all-weather track.
Moscato was my antepost fancy for the Northumberland Plate prior to the draw but stall eighteen (of 20) has made me jump ship to Steve Rogers (4.15) who is the 6/1 favourite at BetVictor. The selection travelled well for a long way but found little in the Chester Cup (2m 2f) last time and I am convinced he is better than he showed on that occasion.
A winner of today’s 2m trip at Kempton on his reappearance the gelding has again been fortunate with the draw (4) and he gets the vote ahead of Tim Easterby’s My Reward who is likely to try and make all from stall two.
Victoria Pollard (4.50) didn’t have the race run to suit at Lingfield last time and the Andrew Balding yard have been in cracking form of late; the filly has been dropped a pound since her last run and her good apprentice takes off another valuable 3lbs.
Irish Derby Day at the Curragh and it is hard to get away from Harzand (5.20) who is taken to confirm Epsom form with Idaho with showers forecast for Friday afternoon. The selection was going away at the end of the Derby and there doesn’t seem any logical reason why he won’t be as least as effective at the Curragh.
It took Bellajeu (4.25) ten starts before she got her head in front but she is taken to make a belated winning seasonal reappearance at Newmarket in the 12f fillies’ handicap for Ralph Beckett. The stable won the corresponding race two years ago, the yard are in form, she handles soft ground and connections must feel she is better than she has shown on the track to date.
In the early part of the season Storm Rock was one of the few Ed Dunlop horses not to fire on all cylinders and a market move for the 4-y-old would be interesting stepping up to 10f for the first time, but Flight Officer (5.00) looked potentially very useful when winning a Nottingham maiden by 7l when last seen in October 2014 and he gets the vote in a terrific and valuable 10f handicap.
On Sunday Al Co (3.30) is taken to follow up his Aintree success from a 10lbs lower mark in the Summer Cup at Uttoxeter; the selection (12/1 at BetVictor) responded well to a first-time visor on Merseyside and this former Scottish National winner is another each way recommendation.