Newcastle’s Northumberland Plate takes centre stage tomorrow at 3.05pm and David Pipe will be trying to pull off a big race double with Mamlook following his win in the Chester Cup. Pipe tasted success at Royal Ascot last week with Junior in the Ascot Stakes and he must be enjoying this Flat malarkey.
Tim Easterby’s yard have been in cracking form this season and he must have been sweating to see if his DEAUVILLE FLYER would sneak into the ‘Pitmen’s Derby’. Well, his prayers have been answered and this progressive four-year-old must have a massive chance with just 8st3lb on his back.
The son of Dubai Destination is going for his hat-trick after back-to-back wins at York over the past couple of months and will have no problems with the quick ground. The step back up to 2m last time suited him perfectly and I like the fact his last two wins have been in big fields. Put simply, he has the ability to be much better than his handicap mark over this trip and is worth backing at 5/1 with William Hill.
Of the others, I wouldn’t put anyone off having a few quid on HALLA SAN each-way at 16/1 with Paddy Power. Richard Fahey’s eight-year-old was beaten a head in this race two years ago and finished just a length behind Mamlook in third in last month’s Chester Cup. He is best fresh and will be running on when the others have cried enough. The other interesting runner is Charlie Swan’s Rajik who has been running some decent races in Ireland and didn’t disgrace himself at Ascot last week.
Jeremy Noseda has his horses in fine fettle and he could start the weekend with a bang in Newmarket’s 6.00pm tonight. He has a fantastic record on the July course with his juveniles and AWESOME ASSET can give him and Ryan Moore another winner. Noseda also runs last week’s unlucky Buckingham Palace Stakes runner-up HIMALYA in tomorrow’s opener at Newcastle and he should take all the beating.
Strong Suit did us a massive favour in last week’s Coventry Stakes and Richard Hannon runs another promising newcomer in Newmarket’s 1.45pm tomorrow. The stable have won four of the last six runnings of this maiden and CULT CLASSIC can make it win number five. He ran a decent race on debut at Newbury a fortnight ago and has reportedly thrived since then.
All three of VIVA VETTORI’S career wins have come at Kempton, but he has run well on undulating tracks in the past. He seemed to appreciate the step up to nine furlongs last time and with Kieren Fallon in the saddle for the first time he can land Newmarket’s Half Moon Handicap (3.55pm).
There is some fantastic action from the Curragh this weekend and I’m going to give Jim Bolger’s AKDARENA another chance in tomorrow’s Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes. We backed her in the Oaks, but she didn’t quite stay and is unbeaten over 10 furlongs. Aidan O’Brien’s Remember When finished in front of our selection at Epsom, but she might have preferred the extra two furlongs that day and I’ll be taking her on.
Sunday’s Irish Derby has been a Ballydoyle benefit race in recent years; they’ve won the last four. The betting suggests Johnny Murtagh will be riding Cape Blanco, but I’d definitely favour Jan Vermeer if he is declared.