It’s Northumberland Plate and Irish Derby weekend. The two races are now split up once again with the Curragh’s big race moved to Sunday, while at the same time there is British and Irish interest in the German Derby too.
We’re betting across Friday and Saturday, beginning at Yarmouth.
Friday 30th June 2023
3.30 Yarmouth (Handicap) – THEORYOFEVERYTHING
I really liked Tafreej last time and this isn’t a case of deserting him. He may go off favourite here but is likely to fine one too well handicapped for him in the shape of Gosden runner Theoryofeverything.
This is the horse I really fancied in last week’s Britannia Stakes but he was pulled out. A grey Frankel colt, Theoryofeverything won very well on debut at Doncaster and was put into a trial (Greenham Stakes) as the team thought he may be Group 1 class.
The ground was terrible at Newbury, as it was at Chester when he was beaten on his third start in a handicap. He was a strong favourite there and now, on better racing ground, he can show why.
6.00 Newcastle (Gosforth Park Cup – Handicap) – VINTAGE CLARETS
The Tapeta surface at Newcastle is a very fair one, which is why many top-class yards send juveniles here, but it is slow. With that, we aren’t obliged to look for those with strong course form but if they don’t have it then we will want to know that they can accelerate in deeper going.
The popular Mondammej may go well in this five-furlong event, while Fine Wine and Badri will also be popular. The one I like however is Richard Fahey’s Vintage Clarets.
Only a four-year-old, he is just about peaking now and it’s prevalent that he has shown the pace we’re looking for on soft ground. It’s also worth mentioning that he had an entry in the Rockingham over in Ireland on Sunday and he was only 10/1 for that. The excellent Paul Mulrennan rides.
6.35 Newcastle (Hoppings Fillies’ Stakes – Group 3) – AL HUSN
This is the first of Newcastle’s two Group 3’s over the weekend, in this case a 1¼-mile event.
There’s no doubt that if French Oaks winner Nashwa is at her best, she wins under Hollie Doyle. She was at her very best in the Nassau on fast ground however and she’s gone backwards ever since.
If she runs to an average of her form, she’ll be at around the 112-mark here which leaves her vulnerable to the improving Al Husn.
Roger Varian’s filly is up to 103 now and is improving sharply. More to the point, she may just be more capable of changing gears on this surface and at the prices we can afford to have a little dabble.
8.45 Newmarket (Handicap) – FIRST SIGHT
The hat-trick chasing Peace Man is likely to be favourite in Newmarket’s finale, but Godolphin’s First Sight is liable to improve for going on turf at the July Course and gets the vote.
A hat-trick seeker himself, he’s been given a mark of 90 which I reckon he surpassed back in January and he should be significantly better than that now.
Saturday 1st July 2023
12.20 Newcastle (Festival Handicap) – RAATEA
A strong six-furlong race, Newcastle’s opener is competitive with Animate, Aleezdancer, Batal Dubai and especially Coachello all capable.
Julie Camacho will now be remembered as Shaquille’s trainer of course, but she may also be responsible for the successful horse here in the shape of Raatea.
Though his win last time was on quick turf at Haydock, Raatea was an easy winner of this very race last year so loves the conditions. He’s 5lbs higher now but that was a simple victory and he’s in flying form.
12.55 Newcastle (Chipchase Stakes – Group 3) – TIBER FLOW
The six-furlong Chipchase wasn’t an easy race to handicap. Spycatcher (rated 106) went close here on All-Weather Championships Finals Day last year but more recently has done all his best work on the grass.
Brad The Brief reached a high level (114) in winning a Group 2, but is far from proven on this surface and has been off the track for 37 weeks.
Tiber Flow is the percentage call at a good price for William Haggas. On the same card as Spycatcher last April, this horse just lost out to El Caballo in the three-year-old race (now rated 111), before winning a Listed event.
More mature now, he should have improved from his fourth to Garrus at Newmarket and his second to Creative Force at Haydock. He has the form to win this, will get better yet and likes the surface.
1.50 Newmarket (Criterion Stakes – Group 3) – AUDIENCE
A number of horses are making comebacks at Newmarket on Saturday including Aldaary.
He is very classy and is a confirmed seven-furlong horse, but we have seen repeatedly that he’s not as good on quicker surfaces as he is on soft ground and he’s been off 14 months.
Berkshire Shadow has the Group 1 form but isn’t truly at that level, while Jumby is penalised and Pogo is an inexplicable price given how out of form he is.
The value shout is Audience for the Gosden team. He has some good form and reached a new level last time when winning easily. He was given 107 but in truth ran closer to 110 and he can now improve again.
2.05 Newcastle (Northumberland Plate – Heritage Handicap) – LAW OF THE SEA
The £150,000 Northumberland Plate is always massively competitive.
Post Impressionist could prove to be well handicapped, Golden Rules has been well touted, Zoffee won the consolation race for this last year and was second in the Chester Cup, Nathaniel Greene has a good profile and Omniscient is an obvious type if he stays.
The suggestion however is Law Of The Sea. Since joining Ian Williams this horse has been unlucky. He was beaten under two lengths in the Chester Cup when not getting a run and should have won, while he found the ground too lively at Haydock but was beaten under a length.
At Royal Ascot he had to race extremely wide but was again beaten only two lengths and his consistency and class should mean another big run is coming here in the feature race.