A field of six go to post for the sixth race of the day at Newbury on Friday, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: Jukebox Jive needs to shake off a below par effort at Haydock but his previous win at Sandown was gutsy and he has to be respected on that basis, but he should be no match for CHAMPAGNE CHAMP. Rod Millman’s five year old finished second over course and distance in April in a tougher race than this and he has run well in the face of some tough challenges the last thrice. Back into calmer waters off a mark of 91, he looks very tough to beat with the in form Oisin Murphy taking the ride.
1 CHAMPAGNE CHAMP – Finished a very respectable second over course and distance in April and he’s been set some very tough tasks the last thrice, last seen in the Northumberland Plate where he ran well for a long way. He is now only a pound above that course and distance second and he is likely to be happier back in a smaller field that he can try to dominate from the front. Oisin Murphy takes the ride for the in form Rod Millman team and he looks to be the one to beat.
2 PUMBLECHOOK – Two wins from his last three starts, with that winning sequence ending on his latest start at Kempton where he was caught out by a rise in the weights and a rise in class. He is only one pound lower here and there has to be doubts about his stamina for this distance, as he looked to have nothing left at his attempt of the two mile trip back in June. Others look far more competitively weighted and a soft lead here isn’t going to happen, so he’s likely best watched.
3 PERCY VEER – Last win came back in November 2015 at Chelmsford and he’s had plenty of opportunities to win since for Sylvester Kirk, well held in this race last season. He was last seen at Wolverhampton where he was a laboured seventh and after a 156 day break, he’s likely to need this race despite Mitch Godwin taking off a useful five pounds. Best watched on this occasion unless the market speaks positively after an absence.
4 AURORA GRAY – Three wins from her past five runs, with her latest two starts resulting in two very respectable seconds at Pontefract in June. She was last seen over the 2m 2f distance 26 days ago off this mark, keeping on well and only beaten around two lengths. She remains unexposed at the staying distances and has Charlie Bennett taking off a very useful three pounds from her back, so a big run looks on the cards once again.
5 COUSIN KHEE – Three time winner over hurdles for Hughie Morrison who has also won four times in this discipline, though his return to the flat at York when last seen was disappointing. Perhaps the 1m 4f distance that day wasn’t enough of a test, but he never once looked likely to be involved and was tailed off. His mark has now slipped down to 78 which does make him dangerous, but others have far more pressing claims and he’s likely best watched.
6 JUKEBOX JIVE – Lightly raced three year old for Anthony Honeyball who showed a brilliant attitude to win at Sandown on his penultimate start. He was then pitched into Class 2 company on his latest start, which he found too much and he’ll be much happier back down in class now. He remains on a mark of 86 and he looks highly interesting upped in trip, as his 1m 6f win suggests he could derive masses of improvement for the step up in distance. Likely to be involved and market support should be noted.