Animate – 12:20 Newcastle
He is dropping back to 6 furlongs in a competitive handicap, he just won at Wolverhampton and got beat at Kempton, both over 7 furlongs. But this is a stiff six, so staying slightly further around Newcastle is probably want you want. It does look a tight handicap on the betting, but the good thing is he’s getting weight from the field, so hopefully he can be competitive again.
Nathanael Greene – 14:05 Newcastle
I would not go up to the track as much as some of the boys who are riding there all the time, but the main thing about Newcastle is that it usually rides fair, it’s a very long straight. Obviously in the Plate with 19 runners you can get hard luck stories but at this track every horse usually gets their chance. It is quite a stiff finish so you have to be careful not to go too soon, it can be quite a long last furlong. Often the best place to be down the straight is middle-to-stands side, even on the round course they tend to swing wide and come up there. I ride Nathanael Greene in the big race and he’s obviously stepping up to 2 miles for the first time, he’s won over 1 mile 6 furlongs but the way he runs it looks like the step up should suit even better. He’s carrying just 8-7 and if you look at his form it’s pretty decent, his latest run was when fourth at Goodwood behind last week’s Ascot Gold Cup winner.
As a 3yo he actually beat my Yorkshire Cup winner Giavellotto in a handicap. Off his handicap mark of 88 he could be very well in. I thought Oisin gave the favourite Golden Rules a brilliant ride at Kempton, he went out in front and made all and he gets the trip very well which is always a plus here at Newcastle. He’s probably the pace angle here but it’s never a one-horse race in a handicap like this and I thought Adjuvant of Michael Bell would have a chance and William Haggas’s other horse, Post Impressionist, was very impressive when winning a handicap last year. Obviously, he’s having his first run back but maybe the stable have had this race in mind for a while off this mark and that’s why he hasn’t run yet.
The Gatekeeper – 14:40 Newcastle
He’s a course and distance winner and up 6lbs since his last win here. He flopped the last day at Ascot and it’s a quick return but I’m hoping a return to the All-weather and back to where he won earlier in the season may bring the best out of him again. Charlie wouldn’t declare the horse to run again unless he thought he was in good shape.
Markakol – 15:15 Newcastle
He went off favourite first time at Sandown in a novice, and although I’ve never ridden the horse they must have thought a bit of him, for him to be favourite. It looked like he knew his job, he jumped, he travelled, and just faded later on, he’s very well bred, and the dam was very decent herself. For the prize money I don’t think it’s the strongest novice, the one to beat is probably Kevin Ryan’s horse Batal Zabeel, who ran in a decent novice first time at York.
Have a great weekend,