Handsome Man can step up to the plate at Newcastle


WE’RE on a bit of a Royal Ascot comedown after the thrilling five-day meeting ended on Saturday. But fear not, there is some decent action tomorrow on both sides of the Irish Sea with the John Smith’s Northumberland Plate at Newcastle (3.15pm) the big betting race.

Before the final declarations came out yesterday I was keen on the chances of Arch Villain for Amanda Perrett, but her four-timer seeking charge has been done no favours, drawn widest of all out in 22.

While it’s not impossible to triumph from that sort of position, it’s going to take a mammoth effort. Montaser, another who I fancied, is also in a wide berth and, although the bookmakers have him as 7/1 favourite, I’m happy to look elsewhere.

Tominator enjoyed his greatest hour when winning this race at 25/1 two years ago but returns to the scene 12lb higher than that day carrying a burden of 9st 10lb. Even with the excellent Graham Lee on board and with the fast ground no problem, I think he’ll struggle to win this two-mile test. I couldn’t put you off backing him to get a place, though.

Instead I’m happy to chance HANDSOME MAN at 8/1 with Coral. He’s something of a forgotten horse in this line-up but is one of the few with the scope to improve.

The Nayef gelding hails from the Godolphin yard which has been pumping out winners of late and both his efforts when runner-up this season have been strong and also suggested he would benefit for a longer trip.

We should remember he actually beat Montaser in a handicap at Yarmouth last term over 14 furlongs on fast ground and he should be able to adopt a good position from stall two, sit handy and then pounce late in the day when it matters.

In the opener at Newmarket (2.20pm), FIG ROLL holds leading claims for Richard Hannon and Richard Hughes in the Listed contest.

The speedy juvenile filly may have only won one of her four races but has been close-up behind a pair of Europe’s leading two-year-old fillies on her last two starts in the shape of Sandiva and Rizeena. The latter was in the Queen Mary Stakes at Ascot last week where she stayed on really well over the fast five furlongs to imply moving back up to six would help her.

Man Amongst Men is likely to be a warm order for the Newmarket maiden at 4.35pm, but KINGMAN is very well-regarded at the John Gosden stable and could well make a winning debut before going on to better things.

Finally, back at Newcastle, JACK DEXTER looks a class above some of his rivals in the 2.05pm. He’s top-rated but gets weight off main rival Hitchens in this Group Three and, more importantly, knows how to win, which is more than most of these do.

A close fourth to subsequent King’s Stand winner Sole Power on his last start, it would be disappointing if Jim Goldie’s star couldn’t regain the winning thread.

■ Pointers…
JACK DEXTER e/w 2.05pm Newcastle
FIG ROLL 2.20pm Newmarket
HANDSOME MAN e/w 3.15pm Newcastle
KINGMAN 4.35pm Newmarket