The feature meeting in Britain on Irish Derby day is Newcastle’s stellar card, which features the Northumberland Plate, consolation Northumberland Vase and a smashing renewal of the Chipchase Stakes.
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Racing Post betting editor Keith Melrose previews Saturday’s card at Newcastle exclusively for MansionBet.
1.15 Newcastle – EBF Novice Stakes
While Secret Strength flopped in the Coventry, the time before at Musselburgh he has beaten Boonie, who managed to finish third in the Windsor Castle Stakes. The pair pulled clear that day, giving substance to the form, and Secret Strength should have too much for these returned to 5f.
Selection: Secret Strength @
Magical Spirit won the Ayr Silver Cup last year and has the credentials to prove just as good at Newcastle, having a win and two seconds from four starts over this course and distance. He is drawn right in the middle, which is often pretty good on the straight course here, and shaped on reappearance as if he retains all of last year’s ability.
Selection: Magical Spirit @
2.20 Newcastle – Chipchase Stakes
Khuzaam is an extremely good horse but may not be a sprinter, Chil Chil and Diligent Harry are fast but need to prove they are good enough. In the middle is the lightly-raced Tabdeed, whose only defeat on seasonal reappearance came when trying to give Glen Shiel weight over course and distance last year. Although six, he can still be regarded as an improver.
Selection: Tabdeed @
2.55 Newcastle – Northumberland Vase Handicap
It seems unduly risky for the handicapper to give East Asia a lower all-weather mark, considering his progress for new connections. He is hard to crab, beyond these conditions being notably different to Goodwood where he has won the last twice. Zeeband has some excellent form to his name from last year and shaped as well as any at Newmarket on reappearance. If any horse can overcome an inside stall here, it is him.
Selection: Zeeband @
3.30 Newcastle – Northumberland Plate Handicap
Trueshan is undoubtedly the biggest name in this year’s Northumberland Plate, but he is the wrong favourite. I think that should be Dubious Affair, who would have won the Copper Horse at Royal Ascot but for being checked twice up the straight but yet gets to run off the same mark here.
She has been progressive for her current yard and that was her only handicap defeat, while a draw in stall 12 is perfectly fine in this race.
Selection: Dubious Affair @
In a race where few stand out, it looks worth giving Midrarr one more chance to recapture his form from last summer. He won at Chester and then chased home Favorite Moon, but has barely beaten a rival since. He has slipped 9lb in the weights and there was some promise last time, so it is not purely blind faith to back him.
Selection: Midrarr @
Byron’s Choice unquestionably posted a career-best effort when winning at Beverley last time, holding off a well-touted Mark Johnston charge by a neck with the pair somewhat clear. A stiff 7f clearly holds no fears for him and he looks a sporting bet to follow up that success on what is a first all-weather start since his juvenile days.
Selection: Byron’s Choice @
This is a lesser race than the one Spirit Dancer finished second in at Chester in May. The winner of that race has won again since and Spirit Dancer, a clear second best, is now just 2lb higher. He showed more than enough in a couple of previous all-weather starts to suggest conditions will be fine and the extra emphasis on stamina is unlikely to trouble a son of Frankel from a classy Juddmonte family.
Selection: Spirit Dancer @
*All odds correct at time of writing.