Betway Handicap (Class 2)
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Some classy handicappers go to post for the fourth race of the day at Newcastle, a Class 2 event. See our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: Back to a mark he has previously won off, this should be a good opportunity for WINTERLUDE to return to winning ways. He’s been poor the last twice but the trip was a valid excuse and the return to today’s trip is a major positive, so should be the one to beat today. He can see off the attentions of Natural Scenery, who looks potentially smart for powerful connections.
1 WATERSMEET – Has a good record of 6-12 on the All Weather and certainly seems to save his best for the surface. He won nicely on his latest start at Wolverhampton in a competitive field (1m 5f, Std), rallying nicely to wrestle back the lead close home. He is raised 3lb for that effort which doesn’t seem out of reach and he is certainly suited by the tapeta as his wins at Wolverhampton indicate. The Mark Johnston yard are in good form at present with a 17% strike rate from 24 runners, and Joe Fanning has the same strike rate from 36 runners, so all roads to lead to a good run today.
2 BARYE – Probably wasn’t suited by a steady pace the last twice but ran well despite it on his latest start at Lingfield in December (1m 4f, Std). This should be a better run affair which will suit him and his two good runs at Wolverhampton in the past indicate this surface wont be an issue. Still 4lb above his last winning mark however and raised 1lb for that latest second, but he does remain with potential and has place claims if building upon that latest effort.
3 WINTERLUDE – Won off this mark of 96 at Wolverhampton last March (1m 4f, Std) but hasn’t been so good the last twice, finishing 7th and 8th at Wolverhampton in December with the inadequate trip a valid excuse. A return to this trip will help massively and if back to his best form because of it, he should be hard to beat. Versatile in terms of how the race is run, he should give a brilliant showing so has to be respected for Jennie Candlish and David Nolan.
4 CASTILO DEL DIABLO – Last win came nearly three years ago at Kempton in March 2014 (1m 6f, Std) and has been poor on recent starts. Now 10lb below his last winning mark so he is certainly well treated on his best form and should appreciate this step up in trip. The David Simcock yard are in brilliant form at present also, with a 38% strike rate from 16 runners. If back to anywhere near his best of this mark he’d be very dangerous and deserves a second look.
5 ROYAL MARSKELL – Still 3lb above his last winning mark and is yet to win off a mark this high, with his latest two efforts very underwhelming. He has conditions to suit and he definitely stays this trip, but he seems very vulnerable today off this mark and is best watched despite assistance from Luke Morris.
6 MASTERPAVER – Ran with credit when a good 2nd here over C&D last month under 7lb claimer Natalie Hambling. Goes back up in class today with Tony Hamilton returning to the saddle and he has won off a higher mark than this in the past. Richard Fahey’s yard are starting to hit form again with 4 winners recently and should run a good race with no worries in terms of surface, but against some potential improvers this highly tried 6 year old may be vulnerable for win purposes.
7 NATURAL SCENERY – Races for powerful Saeed Bin Suroor/Goldophin connections and broke the track record when winning at Wolverhampton in October (1m 4f, Std), her first and only tapeta outing. She still remains with potential and hasn’t been disgraced on his last two runs at Lingfield, placing on both occasions. A mark of 91 doesn’t seem too harsh and still has time as a 4 year old by Dubawi, Josephine Gordon up top to do the steering is another plus. She should run a big race and if showing form similar to her Wolverhampton run she could be hard to beat.
8 TOP OF THE GLAS – Has won twice over hurdles since his last flat run, and ran well on his last all weather start when 2nd over C&D in June. Steps up to Class 2 from Class 4 which is a concern but conditions are fine today and he is clearly in good heart for Brian Ellison. If returning to this code with improvement then he would have solid place claims from only 1lb above his last winning mark and deserves a second look.