It’s Northumberland Plate and Irish Derby Day on Saturday and there’s plenty of quality around.
Newmarket also has a good-looking card during which it’ll be interesting to see how Glorious Journey and Logician get on, but we start with Newcastle’s Friday card where a previous strong fancy for the Oaks goes in a Group 3.
Friday 25th June 2021
5.40 Newcastle (Handicap) – TARROOB
Tom Marquand leaves Newmarket on Friday for two days in the Toon, and one of the country’s best current jockeys may make the perfect start on William Haggas’s Tarroob. This one-mile handicap shouldn’t take too much winning, and the Pivotal filly definitely has some ability.
Tarroob has finished third and fourth either side of a nice win at Chelmsford, and even taking the win out of the equation the form of her other two races along with taking into considering natural improvement make her look potentially well handicapped for this race.
7.20 Newcastle (Hoppings Stakes – Group 3) – ZEYAADAH
This mile-and-a-quarter fillies’ Group 3 has produced an Irish Oaks winner in the past and it may yet dot he same again.
Readers will know Zeyaadah was my leading fancy for the Oaks at Epsom a few weeks ago after her second in the Cheshire Oaks had to be majorly marked up given the nightmare trip she had.
Despite staying well around the Roodee she may not have been fully ready for the mile-and-a-half over the undulations at Epsom, and this race should be much more to her liking.
Jim Crowley is at Newcastle to take a bunch of intriguing rides, which could have been boosted even further had Afaak and Almighwar taken up their engagements for the week, and he can steer this very smart filly to a first Group win.
Sea Empress, Oriental Mystique and Lilac Road are all worth considering for place money.
Saturday 26th June 2021
1.45 Newcastle (Handicap) – FLEETING PRINCE
This is a tough-looking six-furlong handicap sprint. Mondammej was fancied for the Epsom Dash, a race he nearly won, and while he remains of interest this stiff six is a very different ball game to Epsom’s fastest five in the world.
Victory Heights is potentially overpriced too. He possesses plenty of what’s needed to go close here, but it remains to be seen whether or not he’ll be blown away as the only three-year-old in the contest.
Fleeting Prince on the other hand looks very solid and is certainly value. Crowley rides again here for Charlie Hills, and this horse can really kick on now that he’s been gelded.
He was fourth here in the Pavilion Stakes last year, is capable of running to a mark at least 7lbs higher than his current 97 and now that he has been gelded, he should be free of the quirkiness that has been holding him back.
2.20 Newcastle (Chipchase Stakes – Group 3) – KHUZAAM
Newcastle’s other Group 3 looks more competitive and better quality than some other recent renewals. There are plenty in with chances of sorts, with young improver Diligent Harry and two of the three Shadwell horses Tabdeed and Khaadem all having good profiles.
The Shadwell horse Jim Crowley has chosen to ride however is Khuzaam and it’s easy to see why. He ran brilliantly when winning over a mile on Lingfield’s All Weather Championships day but this step down in trip is within his compass.
Even if he’s not at his absolute best here, I reckon he’s half a stone better than the rest and could land a valuable Group win before suddenly putting himself in contention for some major prizes, including the July Cup.
3.30 Newcastle (Northumberland Plate – Handicap) – GALATA BRIDGE
The Northumberland Plate is as competitive as ever this year and the inclusion of Group 1 type Trueshan at the top of the weights adds real intrigue. There’s plenty of Royal Ascot form on offer, the most interesting being that of Galata Bridge.
Galata Bridge was unlucky at the royal meeting for various reasons, is getting better and finally has the two-mile trip he needs. He is trained by the excellent Dr Richard Newland now, but when with Sir Michael Stoute he won three times and all on Tapeta surfaces including once at Newcastle.
He looks the most interesting runner and the best value, though big runs from Australis and Alright Sunshine are also expected.
3.45 Curragh (Irish Derby – Group 1) – HURRICANE LANE
Most of the talk is about High Definition in the Irish Derby and he remains a colt with serious potential. That said, the same happened at York when he turned up for the Dante and while I could concede he may not have been 100% that day, he was beaten fair and square by Hurricane Lane who also now has some big improvement in him.
A winner at York and third in the Derby, Charlie Appleby’s colt didn’t handle things at Epsom and can now truly show us he’s a Group 1 type. Like many other Derby horses before him, he was arguably just not ready for the occasion at Epsom but with that race and a few more weeks on his back he can reach his potential now.
Mojo Star was a surprise runner-up in the Derby and can go well again, while Mac Swiney would always be of interested on heavy ground which he may well need to show his very best.
3.50 Newmarket (Fillies’ Handicap) – SAYYIDA
A very busy afternoon period for us finishes with a bet in Newmarket’s fillies’ handicap over a mile-and-a-half.
Franklet will interest many; she represents tops connections and is a last-time-out winner. Almareekh represents the older horses and the Sir Michael Stoute yard while Hugo Palmer’s Quenelle D’Or is looking for a third win in four starts.
The most intriguing filly without doubt however is Godolphin’s Sayyida under James Doyle. The three-year-old Dubawi offspring is having only her third start here and is climbing the ladder quickly.
First time out this season she won a novice race over this trip over on the Rowley Mile course, easily seeing off Mellow Magic. She has at least another gear to go into now and should prove to be roughly 7-10lbs better than her handicap rating which in normal circumstances would be more than enough to win.