Newcastle preview – horse racing returns
Newcastle gets the Flat racing season underway when they stage the first race meeting since the lockdown. My notes and thoughts on some of the more interesting runners on show….
Newcastle races in focus
For good or bad, the media attention on Newcastle tomorrow is going to be huge. I’d guess horse racing will be put in front of more people in the various formats than any other day barring possibly the Grand National.
Anyhow, staying away from the politics of the resumption, what follows are my brief thoughts on tomorrow’s racecard.
Caution when betting at Newcastle
I’m not for one moment suggesting you follow any of my advice, make your own mind up.
At this stage, I’d say I’m unlikely to have a bet, I may, but it’ll be dictated by price. If you’re watching the racing tomorrow then maybe the preview will give you an interest to follow along, or maybe give you some components to add to your analysis.
Certainly in the first few weeks I’ll be treading very cautiously, while tomorrow may not be a betting day there will be loads of info to be picked up that can be factored in for the future.
With Newcastle being the first meeting for some time, it’s obvious, but one of the biggest factors to consider as a ‘form only’ student is the well-being and fitness of each horse.
Unless you are connected to the horse or stable then you don’t know. Without this info, at best you are guessing.
Newcastle horse racing preview
Onto tomorrow, there’s certainly a few races of interest and some decent quality horses with potential on show
1:00 Betway Welcome Back British Racing Handicap
For a class 6 handicap, it’s quite an interesting race. It revolves around the favourite Stone Mason.
Owned by The Horse Watchers and trained by Mick Appleby this will be his first run for connections. If you’re not familiar with this combination there’s a great interview with Chris Dixon from the Horse Watchers on the Star Sports podcast. Listen to this and it’ll tell you all you need to know.
When the betting first opened, Stone Mason was available at 3/1, he’s currently a best-priced 6/4. It wouldn’t surprise me if he went off even shorter and he could well be an odds on chance in terms of true chance. We just don’t know and I’ve no interest in taking a very short price if the money comes in tomorrow as a show of strength.
If he wins, he may turn out again fairly quickly. That may be the time to be looking to get involved, knowing his fitness and well-being.
2nd favourite Heavenly Tale I’d be very keen to be against at 4/1. New connections for this impeccably bred individual, but on racecourse evidence, she’s very slow and badly handicapped.
At bigger prices, a case can be made for Zodiakos and Muatadel at their best. Similarly Curfewed is of some appeal as an each-way proposition at 12/1 under conditions that have brought about his best efforts. Not a big enough price for me to want to get involved.
If the money is sustained, the most likely outcome is a win for Stone Mason. Happy to sit this out and watch.
1.35 Betway Heed Your Hunch Handicap
Favourite Mutasaamy is going to prove popular here. You can see why, little raced, top stable, improving and a last time out winner. Lots of positives about his profile, but at current odds of ⅘, not one I’m looking to get involved with.
There’s a handful at bigger prices that are of limited interest, Amadeus Grey, Little Jo, Saisons D’or being some of the better-weighted horses. The one that appeals most is Global Spirit at 25/1.
Global Spirit needs to prove himself at a mile, his best to date has been over 7 furlongs. A watching brief for me, if he runs well and be interested in him next time, especially if he drops back in trip. Certainly on a mark he’s capable of winning from.
2:45 Betway Novice Stakes (Div II)
This is a good race and a really interesting heat with an eye to the future.
Starting with Art Power who has posted the best form to date. His impressive win at York was on soft ground and I saw a recent comment from his trainer along the lines of saying soft conditions may ultimately prove best for him. That’s enough doubt to steer me away from backing him. I still believe he’s a top-class prospect, but one for another day.
Magical Journey gets 5lbs from Art Power which gives their form some parity. Then we have the highly touted newcomer Continental who has proved particularly strong in the initial betting.
Fascinating race, watch for the future and enjoy.
3:20 Heed Your Hunch Betway Handicap
Four of the better-handicapped horses in this race are Tenax, Brian The Snail (carries a warning), Tricky Dicky and Wild Edric.
I’d be guessing on their fitness and well-being in trying to separate this foursome, so I won’t.
Worth watching with future engagements in mind, many of these will be out again swiftly.
3:55 Betway Casino Handicap
The first 3-year-old handicap of the season and one of the more interesting of the Newcastle races tomorrow.
Starting with the favourite Oakenshield. Twice raced, he’s the first runner to qualify under the new BHA handicapping rule. For me, the handicapper has taken no chances on the evidence of what he’s achieved in those two runs and I want to be against him.
Potentially that makes the race of interest as a betting proposition.
I’ve come down on three horses who all look on winnable marks, Shoot To Kill, Written Broadcast and Alix James.
The problem is, their form was posted some time ago. I’m left with the questions, how fit are they and have they made a least average improvement since posting those efforts?
Very hard to say.
Of the three I have Written Broadcast on the best mark and with the profile most likely to carry the rating forward. I see there’s been a bit of money for him since the markets opened, currently a best priced 15/2. I’m not desperate to back him at that price, so I’ll probably sit this one out and watch with interest.
5:05 Betway Handicap
The best race of the day for me and I’m keen on a couple here.
Both the front two in the betting Alignak and Good Tidings are obvious candidates for improvement. Big stables and lightly raced but racing off handicap marks where it’s likely they’ll need to show improvement to win.
I’m happy to bypass both at the prices which makes the race interesting as they take up a chunk of the book percentage between them.
I’m looking at December Second. Similar to the front two in the betting, he’s lightly raced and progressive. I’d argue the form he’s shown is significantly better than the front two, but from the less fashionable Philip Kirby yard he’s available at 9/1.
Watching back his latest win at Haydock I’d say he’ll need a strong early pace which emphasises stamina. That was the case at Haydock where he was pushed along entering the home straight before his stamina saw him come home a 5 length winner.
I think he’s capable of winning races off his current mark of 92. Whether it’s tomorrow or not, we’ll find out. I suspect we’ll see December Second go up in trip in the future, in the longer term he might be one for a race like the Ebor if he can get a couple of wins in prior.
So, I’m interested in December Second here, but the horse on the best mark is Makawee who is available at a general 16/1 and bigger on the Exchanges.
Racing off 91 tomorrow, this is a mark she is capable of winning from, if not tomorrow, then there are races to be won this season.
At her best, and I have no idea how forward she is in her training, the 16/1 would be appealing.
5:40 Betway Maiden Stakes (Div I)
The highly promising John Gosden filly Frankly Darling reappears here. I’d anticipate the step up to 10 furlongs will suit her and she is the most likely winner.
There are a few unraced types from bigger stables that are unknowns, plus the once raced Sir Michael Stoute trained Thibaan. While not having shown as much as Frankly Darling, Thibaan is open to any amount of improvement.
At the current 8/11, I’d need to have a lot fewer unknowns to be getting stuck into Frankly Darling. The most likely winner, but I’ll be watching for clues to the future.