A field of seven go to post for the third race of the day at Newcastle on Tuesday, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: The return to heavy ground will suit the out and out stayer MODULUS, who should have far too much stamina for these to record his second win this season for Peter Winks. He won well at Uttoxeter on his penultimate start when having far too much staying power for his opponents, and despite a 10lb rise he wasn’t completely disgraced when sixth at Wetherby two weeks ago. The handicapper has dropped him two pounds with Ryan Winks claiming 7lb, which are both crucial factors for him. His likely main challenger will be Manwell, but he has to bounce back from a lesser effort last time out.
1 CATCHING SHADOWS – Dual bumper winner for James Ewart who has disappointed over timber, remaining a maiden after four runs. He has shown promise on occasion but hasn’t been improving at all, with his latest seventh at Wetherby (2m, Good to Soft) if anything a backwards step after hanging badly throughout. That was his handicap debut and despite a 3lb drop, he remains risky on what he has shown thus far. Hard to build a case for him.
2 SURPRISE VENDOR – Certainly capable on his day with six wins over timber, winning on his penultimate start at Ayr in January in comfortable style (2m, Heavy). A 10lb rise was enough to stop him though when well beaten at Bangor three weeks ago (2m, Soft), adding to his already very patchy profile. Only lowered 2lb in the handicap which looks unlikely to help him enough, especially at the age of eleven. Others are readily preferred.
3 OISHIN – First time tongue-tie did help when running up to his best at Carlisle on his latest start, finishing fourth but never looking likely to challenge (2m 1f, Good to Soft). He drops 2lb in the handicap but he just seems to lack a gear change and may just struggle again today until the handicapper further relents. Daragh Bourke takes off 5lb and he isn’t one to rule out for the places as a C&D winner, but he just looks vulnerable for win purposes.
4 MANWELL – Won on his handicap debut at Uttoxeter on New Year’s Eve in good style (1m 7f, Soft) but a 18lb rise in the weights was the likely cause of his demise when soundly beaten over the same C&D in January. The handicapper has relented slightly by dropping him a pound in the handicap and the tongue-tie returns after being taken off for his latest run. Conditions to suit and he remains with potential in this sphere, but he does have questions to answer today.
5 MODULUS – Had far too much staying power for his rivals when winning comfortably at Uttoxeter last month (2m 3f, Heavy) and he wasn’t necessarily disgraced at Wetherby on his latest start when sixth after a 10lb rise (2m 3f, Good to Soft). He will be much more comfortable back on heavy ground and the drop back in trip isn’t much of a concern as he finished a very close fourth at Doncaster over today’s trip in January (2m, Good). He should have far too much staying power for these and with the handicapper relenting two pounds, he should be tough to beat today.
6 CADORE – Last win came way back in January 2015 at Ayr (2m, Heavy) off an 11lb higher mark in similar conditions to today’s, but he has obviously been very poor for a while now to have this low mark. He was last seen at Ayr when well beaten once again (2m 4f, Soft) and is starting to look like a forlorn hope despite this now career low mark. Others have far more convincing claims and it’s hard to see him landing a blow in this.
7 POLITBUREAU – Only hurdles win came nearly two years ago now and he has been badly out of form this winter for Micky Hammond, well beaten at Wetherby (2m 3f, Good to Soft) and fifteen lengths behind Modulus on that occasion. Now down to a basement mark of eight-two, now twelve pounds below his only winning mark, but that still makes him of limited appeal today. Heavy ground will suit and possible place claims in this weak field, but he’d be a surprise winner.