A strong field of nine go to post for the final race of the day at Newcastle on Thursday, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: In good form and so well treated, this surely has to be the day that VIMY RIDGE gains another well deserved victory. He has been running well of late and the cheekpieces go back on for today’s run, with him now being 11lb below his last winning mark. Add this to the fact that Callum Shepherd takes off an extra 3lb (he is good value for his claim) and all signs point to a very big run from stall one. He looks the likely winner and can be chased home by the steadily improving One Boy.
1 JUST US TWO – Has been running well this winter for Robert Cowell and wasn’t beaten far on his latest start when fifth at Lingfield two weeks ago (5f, Std). Down 2lb in the handicap as a result, now back on his last winning mark with brilliant apprentice Lewis Edmunds claiming a very useful 5lb. Stall 3 and looks very likely to run a big race, and has to be respected on that basis, though he is yet to win on the all weather surface, which is a slightly concern.
2 APROVADO – C&D winner back in September who didn’t back that up when well beaten a start later over the same C&D in January. He did however run a better race when third here over the six furlong trip two weeks ago when attempting to make all and should have better chances now back in trip. He remains on the same mark as his last run and stall four isn’t a bad draw for a horse who will need to be prominent. Likely place contender and has to be respected.
3 NEW ROAD SIDE – Notched up his fourth win when triumphing at Nottingham in Octboer (5f, Soft), though he has not bee at his best the last twice. Returning to the all weather for the winter, he was well beaten at Southwell in November (5f, Std) and will need this break to have sharpened him up if he’s to be involved. Still 2lb above his last winning mark and he faces some in form contenders today, so he may just struggle with all things considered.
4 SECRET ASSET – Twelve year old who seems to be regressing, reappearing this season when well beaten at Lingfield in February (5f, Std). Likely to be better for that run and he is now back on his last winning mark, but it’s hard to get excited about his chances with some in form, younger contenders in the field. Look elsewhere today.
5 ONE BOY – Steady improver on the turf for this yard, winning well at Navan on his penultimate start in October (5f, Yielding to Soft), and he likely needed the run on his latest start over C&D when keen early. That run certainly wasn’t devoid of promise and from what he showed last season, a mark of 77 shouldn’t be beyond him for Paul Midgley with Graham Lee taking the ride. Likely to run a big race and has to be respected as such, as long as he breaks well form stall eight.
6 TARBOOSH – Winner on debut at Kempton in May (7f, Std), though he is yet to win again for Paul Midgley. Well beaten on his only attempt at the five furlong trip, with that at Chelmsford in September (5f, Std), though his reappearance here three weeks ago wasn’t devoid of promise (6f, Std). Does still have something to prove though at this trip and others do have more straight forward claims, though it’s hard to rule him out entirely. Possible each way player but may be vulnerable for win purposes.
7 VIMY RIDGE – In good form of late, finishing second at Lingfield on his penultimate start (5f, Std) and he wasn’t disgraced at Kempton two weeks ago on his latest run (6f, Std). Now 11lb below his last winning mark with Callum Shepherd claiming a further 3lb, so he is clearly now very, very well treated. he gets the plum draw in Stall one and all signs point to a brilliant run with the cheekpieces re-added, so he has to be respected for Alan Bailey.
8 ROYAL BRAVE – Claimed his first all weather win here over C&D in Novemberm though he hasn’t been seen since then and has a 3lb rise to contend with for Rebecca Bastiman. He was a winner off a 3lb higher mark on the turf, albeit a few years ago, so his current mark isn’t something to be too concerned about today. He will however do well to return at his best after a 104 day absence and he is entitled to need this, all though conditions are to suit, others make more appeal.
9 DARK SIDE DREAM – One win from twenty-seven runs under rules, though he has been running very consistently this season, with form figures of 32225323 since going back on the all weather this winter. Down to a mark of 72 which is 8lb below his last winning mark and he is drawn well in stall two to mount a serious challenge for Chris Dwyer. Silverestre De Sousa takes over the ride which aides his case and another bold bid is likely and he has to be respected.