There is much talk about field sizes at the moment, and that’s affected betting this weekend. Should Newmarket’s meeting really be a three-day one?
Newcastle’s own three-day meet is a traditional affair and with the Seaton Delaval Handicap over with, attention turns there to the Gosforth Park Cup, the Northumberland Plate and a pair of Group 3 contests.
Will Buick is missing several good rides to stay at Newmarket, perhaps for Rebel’s Romance who could yet reach the top, while we can’t guarantee any value about Boosala at Newcastle but that one is interesting too.
It’s also Irish Derby weekend at the Curragh, a race in which we have a value punt, but we begin with Friday evening’s action at Gosforth Park.
Friday 24th June 2022
6.35 Newcastle (Gosforth Park Cup – Handicap) – FERNANDO RAH
The five-furlong Gosforth Park Cup is perhaps not the race it once was, but this year’s renewal looks a competitive affair at around 7/1 the field. Bearing in mind that field is only 14 strong, you can see why this will be a keen betting heat.
Instantly recognisable names such as Stone Of Destinty, Dakota Gold and Venturous will attract support, while City Walk could be better than this but might just not get through this surface so well.
Copper Knight remains of interest and Saluti is a solid second choice, but Fernando Rah stands out.
Clive Cox’s gelding is just four and has not reached his peak yet. He’s kept close company with the likes of Run To Freedom and Lord Of The Lodge and he handles the Tapeta just fine.
He’s had a break since he was a beaten favourite in January and can now resume his progress.
7.10 Newcastle (Hoppings Stakes – Group 3) – POTAPOVA
William Haggas is having a wonderful time and his hot-pot My Astra will go off a very warm order in this race.
There’s no doubt she could be a top-class filly, though after her demolition job at Ayr last time they could have taken up an engagement in the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh this weekend but have decided to revert to the all-weather.
Her worst performance came on an artificial surface, and while she may yet prove too good, she is worth taking on at these odds.
Rogue Millennium was a good trial winner and represents the Oaks form, but the genuine improver in the bunch is Cheveley Park and Sir Michael Stoute’s Potapova.
Her form is solid and getting better, while she was initially aimed alongside her Epsom conqueror Bashkirova at the Duke of Cambridge Stakes at Royal Ascot (Group 2) but needed more time. If she starts well, a familiar caveat with her, she has an outstanding chance under Derby-winning rider Richard Kingscote.
Saturday 25th June 2022
2.25 Newcastle (Chipchase Stakes – Group 3) – SENSE OF DUTY
Although we’re taking on one Haggas filly, we stick like glue to another in the shape of Sense Of Duty.
We perhaps can’t take the form of her Listed Haydock win too literally. Runner-up Flotus (third in Ascot Group 1) and third-placed Benefit (easy Listed winner) were always going to improve from there, although then again so too is Sense Of Duty given her age and stage.
She gets a handy fillies’ allowance, while her dam ran well at Newcastle on the Tapeta despite blowing the start. She should have enough to see off the All-Weather Championships Finals form of Edraak and Spycatcher, with Ebro River potentially getting there too as he looks to emulate last season’s successes.
3.15 Newmarket (Criterion Stakes – Group 3) – LANEQASH
This is a small, but quality Group 3 seven-furlong race.
Pogo is solid but doesn’t appeal for win purposes this time, while Art Du Val can still take one step forward at least despite being six with William Buick on hand to ride.
Sunray Major is getting there all the time and he was arguably unlucky behind Laneqash last time.
Roger Varian’s runner however is making up for lost time. He has more improvement to come which should keep him ahead of Sunray Major and he ticks too many boxes to ignore, not least speed which at some stage he may use here to put the race to bed.
3.20 Windsor (Midsummer Stakes – Listed Race) – MODERN NEWS
A good-quality Listed event over the mile at Windsor and certainly one to keep in mind for future betting purposes.
Tyrrhenian Sea is decent, progressive on the all-weather certainly, while Chindit doesn’t quite appeal this time under his penalty.
My Oberon is solid for the William Haggas team. He has plenty of ability for sure, but he could just be vulnerable to a good one.
Modern News is definitely a Group horse. Charlie Appleby’s runner was fancied to win the Lincoln in March and while he didn’t manage that, he did take a valuable handicap next time.
He then came here to this course and distance, winning ever so easily at Listed level which has now earned him a penalty. He showed much better speed but was outfought by Megallan at Epsom last time, but he wouldn’t have loved things there and is generally progressing quickly.
He’s engaged at Group 2 level and looks at least that good, something he can prove by giving weight away and winning this.
3.45 Curragh (Irish Derby – Group 1) – PIZ BADILE
All the talk this week has been about Rob Hornby losing the ride on Derby runner-up Westover here, Colin Keane now taking over.
It’s always great for the Derby form to be fully franked and many think Westover was an unlucky loser at Epsom, though in truth he wouldn’t have beaten Desert Crown even with a clear run.
A day earlier, Tuesday took full advantage of Emily Upjohn’s early slip to win the Oaks narrowly and she is a fascinating contender here against the colts. In fact, she is likely to now go off favourite.
Hannibal Barca and Lionel can improve, but the best value in the race by miles lies with Piz Badile.
Some horses just don’t do the job at Epsom, but Donnacha O’Brien’s colt was about an impressive a trial winner as any other in the field before that and looks every inch a Group 1 horse. He gets the chance to prove it now under Gavin Ryan.