Make no mistake this is a tricky affair with any number of dangers including Godolphin ‘second string’ Pretend who returns from a long absence but has quality all-weather form behind him.
The classy Yattwee just too strong in the closing stages and he has since gone on to run well in a hot Ascot handicap so the form looks worth following. The presence of Jamie Spencer in the saddle could be another bonus as Newcastle looks a track where a patient ride can often bear fruit.
It is open to question which of these fillies will cope with proper soft ground but there was given in the ground at York when the selection prevailed so she tentatively gains the nod where confidence is as scarce as a Boris Johnson fan.
ALBAHAR (Best price 16/1) is another drawn wider than ideal but he bucked a trend of winning from way back at Goodwood last time and looks a danger. Chris Gordon’s charge boasts plenty of all-weather experience which is no surprise given his sire, Dark Angel, trades at a very healthy 15 per cent strike rate on a synthetic surface.
Birchwood, an impressive winner at this venue last July in Group 2 company, looks a chief threat along with So Beloved even if his yard have gone a little quiet of late.
The Chester Cup didn’t play to the strengths of the synthetic surface supremo and he should be more at home on Tapeta in today’s feature. Of course, he could have been drawn a little better as stall 19 is awkward to say the least, but he has the class to overcome that negative and it will be disappointing if he isn’t on the scene.
Richard Fahey landed this event with Angel Gabrial two years ago and GABRIAL THE HERO (Best price 16/1) is also worth supporting given he too boasts a magnificent record on the all-weather. The seven-year-old’s figures on sand read 224211 and, as a strong stayer with some 12f speed, he looks likely to be in the shake-up.
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