Good morning all,
Another day that, in the main, I'm happy to sit out until the rain has come and done what damage it's going to. I really don't think you can get stuck in until we know what the ground is going to be come racetime.
With that, I have concentrated on one of the big races of the day, the Northumberland Plate at Newcastle, to try and come up with the winner.
Twenty runners will line up for this year’s Northumberland Plate Handicap, and as ever, it’ll be a hard contest to solve. In terms of outright quality it might lack a little – last year, 13 of the contenders were rated 100+, this year, just 5 – but it looks as competitive as ever.
The unexposed Australis has been well backed for much of the week, and it isn’t hard to see why. This will only be his tenth start, and having won two of his last three, comes here on the up. He ground it out to beat Caravan Of Love at Wolverhampton over 14f (he reopposes here, very little between them at the weights) and promises to stay the trip. The surface won’t be a problem either, and it’s hard to find many holes in him.
Smart Champion makes a fairly quick reappearance after his staying-on fourth in the Ascot Stakes, where he did a lot of good work late on, and clearly this trip is no problem to him. Neither is the track, having won here the time before, again coming off the back to score. I suppose my only concern with him is whether this comes a bit quick after such a big effort at Ascot.
Carnwennan has form that ties him in closely with Smart Champion and his record at Newcastle reads 102, so the track clearly suits, but the handicapper keeps nudging him up for getting beat, which always makes life harder. His worst run came after a break last December and that’s the worry again here, having not been seen out since February.
Rainbow Dreamer drops back into handicap company after his effort in the Group 3 Sagaro Stakes here last time, a perfectly solid effort and indeed, the way he tired very late on suggested he probably needed the outing. However, the handicapper hasn’t taken kindly to the run, putting him up another 2lb, and he will need a career best. On the plus side though, the Alan King yard are still going well after a superb Ascot.
With this being a less classy affair than last year, it gives top weight Magic Circle a chance on his first run for Richard Fahey. I had a look at how Richard does with them first time up when they come to him from other yards, and over the past two years, he’s had just two winners from 21 runners. That suggests he likes to get to know them and take his time, but this is a big pot and this mark probably isn’t beyond him. I’m tempted to say leave him for another day, but it wouldn’t be the biggest shock if he won.
My idea of the value in the race is Mark Johnston’s improving 4yo Anyonecanhaveitall. A ready 4l winner over C&D last September before being narrowly denied when trying to follow up, he came back to run a career best at Pontefract on his reappearance, again caught in the shadow of the post by the rapidly-improving (and well treated) Oleg, the pair of them 4l clear of the third. That was over Pontefract’s extended 17f trip, and this drop back a furlong is probably a positive. He’ll go from or near the front and has little weight to carry. I think he holds a very solid chance here.
Of the rest, well you can set your watch by Cosmelli in this race, having won the Vase in 2018 and then a close fifth in this last year. He’s 8lb lower this time around, so has every chance from a handicapping point of view, and has run well in two starts since the return of racing over trips probably a bit short for him. Those of you brave enough to be playing for big forecasts and tricasts probably need to have him onside, although I still haven’t forgiven him for idling his chance away at Southwell last February when Tynecastle Park picked him off late. Had a good bet that day….
Speaking of old friends, here’s Sevenna Star as well. Once upon a time, when with John Gosden, I had him down as a Leger hope, but it all went wrong and he ended up leaving Clarehaven and joining John Ryan. His fourth in the Listed Rose Bowl at Newmarket last year showed he still has something to offer if they can get him right, and having been gelded since last being seen, the dream of him winning a big handicap might be back on. It might not be here, but keep an eye on him, see how he travels today.
Selections – Anyonecanhaveitall and Cosmelli (both e/w, 6 places available.)
Good luck with all your bets today,