Just a small field for this nursery at Newcastle but this is a decent contest and one that could have a bearing on the winter all weather season. Read our full race preview for our experts’ betting tips.
IN SUMMARY: Nepeta looks a typical Mark Johnston type, a hardy front runner, but her form has levelled off a little in recent starts and she looks vulnerable to an improver. Chocolate Box has not shown much in three maidens and his opening mark looks tough but for a yard who have few runners at the track (only runner at this meeting) is worth noting in the market. RASHFORD’S DOUBLE showed much improved form last time on his handicap debut over C&D. His form has been a steady upward curve and he should take plenty of beating in a bid to make it 2/2 in handicaps.
1 Chocolate Box – Luca Cumani is not a regular visitor to the North East with just 15 runners in the last 5 years at the track producing 4 winners. He has had the minimum three runs to gain a handicap mark, all of them over this trip but he will need to improve for the step into handicaps as this opening gambit hardly looks generous. His half sister was placed in all 5 starts on the all weather, they were all on Polytrack but there is hope there that the artificial surface could perhaps suit better than turf has.
2 Upgrade – Ran ok on his Tapeta debut at Wolverhampton when plugging on all the way to the line. The first time cheekpieces could bring about some improvement but the form of that most recent race is questionable with the runner up lowly rated and well beaten since while the 1/40 record of the yard so far in October is another cause for concern.
3 Rashford’s Double – Showed improved form last time out when winning on his handicap debut over C&D. He reversed maiden form with Nepeta over the longer trip, on the new surface and having made a step forward with every start so far, a further rise of 5lbs looks unlikely to stop him in the bid to win again.
4 Nepeta – Made all the running to win over 7f at Musselburgh in August but has been claimed late on over this trip the last twice. She is 6lbs better off with Rashford’s Double on their start here for a length and three quarters, in theory that should see her close to turning that form round but while Richard Fahey’s colt has improved with each start, her form has rather plateaued.
5 Anythingknappen – Stepped up well on her previous runs to win a Thirsk maiden on soft but failed to make any impression on her handicap debut at Ayr. This is a step down in grade from that but her Thirsk win suggested that a bigger field and likely stronger pace than she will get here is more likely to show her in a better light.
myracing Forecast Prices: 7/4 Rashford’s Double, 3/1 Chocolate Box, 7/2 Upgrade, 4/1 Nepeta, 14/1 Anythingknappen