IN SUMMARY: The Hardwick Hall Hotel Handicap is a very exciting and competitive contest we racing fans have to look forward to at the Newcastle races on Tuesday night. There are so many in the field with chances but our tentative vote goes to the Barron trained HANDSOME DUDE. This 4 year old Showcasing gelding is making his tapeta debut so whether he will take to the surface or not is questionable and something we have to take a chance with. He sprung a surprise in a good Doncaster handicap back in September, beating 19 other runners over the 6f on Good ground. That was off a mark of 81 so if he could reproduce that sort of form here off a mark of 86, there’s no reason why he won’t be in the mix. He is inconsistent and hard to catch right and wears blinkers regularly but he has a good draw in Stall 6 and we’re expecting a bold run.
1 KING ROBERT – Lightly raced three year old gelding by Royal Applause who won both of his first two starts at Carlisle and Chester over 5f and the extended 6f. He was then 4th to Ribchester in the Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes but was poor in two subsequent runs. Lots of talent but carries a big weight here.
2 ANOTHER WISE KID – Exposed 8 year old gelding who has won 9 races from 63 starts. Solid run in 4th last month at Haydock but this is just his third All-Weather start but he won a Class 2 sprint off a five pound higher mark last year so looks well treated.
3 HARWOODS VOLANTE – David O’Meara trained horse who is making his tapeta debut. Comes here in flying form, two seconds, a win and a fourth from his last four starts. Won at Yarmouth in October and Josh Doyle takes off a handy 5 pounds. Solid each way claims again.
4 ZANETTO – Has now gone 23 runs without success, a spell that stretches back to 2013 so clearly is hard to fancy for win purposes. He is making his tapeta debut and needs to show a lot more on track before he becomes a betting proposition.
5 STEELRIVER – Last win was back in 2014 and he has gone 29 starts without success now. Finished a close up 2nd at Wolverhampton off a mark of 92 back in March. If he could reproduce that sort of form, he would have an each way chance off a mark of 87 here.
6 SHOWBOATING – Solid 4th to Shouranour at Catterick over 7f on heavy ground when last seen on turf but has to run off a 12 pound higher mark here so he looks far too high in the weights at present on the All-Weather. Has winning form on this surface though which is a plus.
7 BOSSIPOP – Very impressive winner of a Chester handicap in September and although he is up 6 pounds for that victory, he has to be respected. This is a step up in grade but he may well be up to the task as he is still only a three year old. Solid claims.
8 COSMIC CHATTER – Could never get involved in the finish over 5f here at Newcastle in September but he needs further and he has that this time round over 6f. He won over 5f last time out but it was a sufficient stamina test as it was heavy ground. Has to enter calculations if he can transfer the form to tapeta.
9 HANDSOME DUDE – Inconsistent horse but there was a lot to like about his victory in a 20 runner handicap at Doncaster in September. That was as competitive a handicap as you will see and if he takes to the tapeta he must be a bit of value at the prices, for all we know he is hard to predict.
10 UDONTDODOU – Finished a staying on 7th in a big Doncaster handicap last month, doing best of those drawn on the far side. Runs off the same mark here in what looks an easier race and the extra distance will play to his strengths. Massive player if he takes to the surface and good draw in Stall 11.
11 KENNY THE CAPTAIN – Arrives here in the form of his life; won back to back victories at Redcar and Carlisle over 6f before finishing a fine 3rd at Ayr and chased home Harwood’s Volante at Yarmouth when last seen. High enough in the weights now but has to be respected and was 2nd here in August.
12 DRAGON KING – Blinkers didn’t work the oracle first time at Ayr last time out where he finished 18th of the 21 runner, albeit only beat 6.5 lengths. The cheekpieces are reached for now but the suspicion is this is a very difficult horse to train and he looks easily passed over for now.
13 HAWKEYETHENOO – Very solid run at York last time out when 3rd to Bertiewhittle in a competitive handicap. He needs a very strong pace up front to aim at and he looks likely to get it here. The straight course at Newcastle will also play to his strengths so he can’t be discounted off this mark.
14 JAYWALKER – Career best performance when winning over course and distance last month, beating Soul Brother by half a length. He is only up three pounds in the weights as a consequence and is still only a five year old so the follow up is quite possible. Each way claims.