Channel 4 Racing presenter Nick Luck picks out his best bets on Northumberland Plate day.
The horse I think could run well at a big price - and I will be backing him each-way - is Gavlar whose all-weather record is excellent and he comes here on the back of a very creditable fourth to subsequent Royal Ascot winner Kinema on unsuitably soft ground at Goodwood.
In the Chipchase Stakes (2.30) earlier in the day, I am going to chance on Markaz, cutting back in trip to six furlongs. As a brother to Mecca’s Angel, with loads of speed in his pedigree, you sense that he should have been sprinting all along and he’s been asked to take on some very smart horses in the last 18 months, both at six and seven furlongs, and has acquitted himself creditably. He should find this company slightly easier and I can see him running a big race as long as he breaks on terms from his inside stall.
In the Criterion Stakes (3.55) it could be the day to side with Breton Rock who more and more looks like he needs a stiffish test at the trip, and he is much more effective on soft ground. I thought he ran quite respectably in the circumstances at Haydock last time and he might just see out this test better than So Beloved who looks as though he’s getting faster as he gets older.
In the Irish Derby (5.20) there be some mileage in throwing a few quid each-way at Red Verdon given that Harzand clearly took some time to get over his foot issue after Epsom and there is a chance Idaho could be better back at ten furlongs, rather than twelve.
He’s got a hell of a lot of ground to make up on the winner but he was given far too much to do at Epsom and he did well to finish where he did given how far back he was in the early stages. He’s a horse with quite a few gears, is a proven stayer at this trip and I can fully understand why connections are keen to have a bash at this race.