Thirteen horses go to post for our opener at Newcastle today with £7,246 going to the winner. Read on for our expert’s thoughts and betting tips.
IN SUMMARY: This is a tight handicap with many horses bringing improved or recent winning form to the table. Amazement should go well despite being put up 6lb and he will no doubt be up there fighting at the finish. Fuwairt looks the pick from the Roger Fell team and he could go one better than his good second here last time out. It’s worth chancing however that CONSTANTINO can get it right. He has improved a place in each of his last three runs and today can be the day he gets his nose in front. Briardale is also of interest especially if there is money around for him.
1 Keystroke – Back to back winner of 1m turf events on first two career starts last year and has scored twice on the AW at Wolverhampton so far this year. Had been out of sorts until his most recent win over 1m in similar company twenty five days ago for which he is 3lb higher and should go well for a yard that sends out plenty of winners on this surface.
2 Georgian Bay – Only two career wins have come on the polytrack at Kempton and latest win came last Autumn. Patchy form since in better races and has improved slightly for the switch to the AW recently, a good third over 7f at Kempton five starts ago being the best so far. Needs to put behind him a poor run over 1m1f at Wolverhampton eleven days ago and doubt the drop in trip will help today.
3 Quixote – Multiple AW and turf winner when trained in Germany then France, at one point trained by Peter Schiergen. Not shown much of that old form in five starts for his new yard in slightly better company, with only one behind on his most recent start at Kempton. Makes his debut on Tapeta and looks held against a few of these on recent form.
4 Flaming Spear – Winner on turf at York (Good/Firm) on debut but largely disappointing since, a runner up effort at Newcastle (Heavy) his best finish in seven attempts. Makes Tapeta debut after forty-six days off and best watched for now given he does not have a progressive profile.
5 Fuwairt – Dual winner on the AW and turf this Summer up to 1m when trained by David Loughnane and appeared to be getting the hang of things again on his fourth start for his new yard at Chelmsford. Fine second in a more competitive race last time at this track and the step up in trip should suit him as he bids to go one better. Yard remain in good form and solid place claims. One of four for the yard and looks the stable pick.
6 Fort Bastion – Landed back to back victories at Chelmsford in Class 6 claimers already this Autumn up to 1m. Changed hands a couple of times between those wins and now with Brian Ellison. Struggled in better races since and the drop back down to a Class 3 might help him in this but recent form off putting and others look stronger for win purposes.
7 Michele Strogoff – Three time winner when trained in France including once on the AW. Joined David Loughnane this Autumn and only a couple of fair runs. Carried on in the same vein in four starts for Roger Fell and good run last time out over 1m at Chelmsford thirteen days ago. Benefited from the application of a hood that time and hopes will be high it can have an improved effect with his mark taking a further slide to 89 (has won off higher). Looks to be the stable’s next best.
8 Amazement – Won a third of his starts this year with two wins so far including over this C&D in a weaker race twenty-six days ago. Travelled well to make good progress to score by 1 ¼ lengths he is entitled to go well again from only 6lb higher and should be in the mix.
9 Two For Two – One of four runners for Roger Fell. Losing streak stretches fifteen runs since 2015 now. Has been off the boil for a while now and poorly drawn when only eleventh of 15 in a similar race at Chelmsford (Fuwairt in fourth) on last start. Appears to be one of the yards lesser lights and up against it for win purposes.
10 Briardale – Won at this track over 1m3f in good style, battling back 1f out to win by half a length. Won a similar handicap on the turf at York (Good/firm) in July and has finished runner up on last two AW starts including when sent off favourite last time over C&D 75 days ago. Similar mark in this and should give it a good go but others bring more recent form and he is one to watch closely in the betting.
11 Constantino – Looked good when winning a Class 4 maiden at Ayr in September and has run consistently at that level since. Has improved with every run over this trip on his last three starts and looks dangerously weighted to land a second a career win in this. Big player.
12 Pike Corner Cross – Good strike-rate this year with four win from 16 runs. Won over C&D in weaker company two starts ago and only just followed up with another win in a Class 5 handicap at Wolverhampton 26 days ago in a field of 12. Needs more upped in grade but clearly in good heart.
13 Mont Ras – Without a win since landing a valuable handicap at Meydan in 2014 when trained by David O’Meara. Disappointing at this track on two starts since an encouraging third of 13 three starts ago. Needs a lot more to get involved for this and his now 20lb lower for his last win. Others look more persuasive for the win.