Saturday Horse Racing Preview & Tips –26th June– Seymour Biz

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A somewhat rather quieter weekend after all the excitement of Royal Ascot with racing being televised from three meetings on Saturday. The highlight for me is the card at Newcastle which includes the Northumberland Plate, commonly known as the Pitman’s Derby plus three other races, two of which are handicaps.

There are three stakes races from Newmarket to back these up and the Irish Derby from the Curragh is also being shown. But the Newcastle meeting from Gosforth Park looks far and away the one where the greatest value can be found and here are my thoughts for this week’s Lucky Fifteen.

Newcastle Lucky Fifteen
1.45 Victory Heights
2.20 Diligent Harry
2.55 A Star Above
3.30 Rajinsky
Bet this lucky 15 now on Bet365

The first race being televised from Newcastle, where all the racing takes place on the Tapeta surface, is the williamhill.com Best Odds Guaranteed Handicap which is a 6f sprint. Top weight here is Richard Hannon’s Lexington Dash who was last seen out at Epsom in early June when he got bumped at the start and put off his stride. He had won previously at Doncaster a month earlier but the weight is a factor. The winner of that Epsom race was Ian Williams’s Ejtilaab but he has risen in the weights since that victory and that may be a problem. 

Kevin Ryan has a very strong hand with three runners in the lineup, Justanotherbottle, Major Jumbo and Magical Spirit. The latter was very disappointing last time out at York in May but he should improve on that and may snatch a place. 

Woven is expected to put up a decent show for trainer Michael Dods after finishing fourth in that York race when beaten just over a length but he has risen in the handicap after that run. 

I am looking at the bottom of the weights and James Tate’s Victory Heights looks the value in the race. He was a dual course winner last year and has not been seen since running poorly at Doncaster last April, but did win over 6f at Wolverhampton in December so should be suited by his trip and track.

At 2.20, we have the William Hill Chipchase Stakes, a Group 3 contest over 6f. Roger Varian’s Khuzaam is the bookmakers’ favourite for this contest but he is dropping back in trip after racing in Group 2 mile races. Added to that, Varian had a poor Ascot and this horse is best watched. 

Kevin Ryan’s Brando is a Group 1 winner back in 2017 but has struggled this season in some top-class races. I am afraid he is getting a bit long in the tooth now and these younger speedsters may be too quick for him now. 

Tabdeed from Owen Burrows yard is having his first run of the season after running poorly in the Sprint Cup at Haydock last September. I am not sure he will be suited by this surface as he usually requires top of the ground going. 

Chil Chil has been a consistent performer for trainer Andrew Balding. He won easily at Newmarket at the beginning of May but this is a big step up in class to Group company for Balding’s charge. 

Another who steps up in class is Clive Cox’s Diligent Harry who is an all-weather specialist with three wins already this year on this surface, the latest of which was at Lingfield in April. The trainer is also something of a specialist when it comes to training sprinters and this young horse also benefits from the weight-for-age allowance. He can move his career up a notch by taking this.

The William Hill Pick Your Places Northumberland Vase Handicap is at 2.55. This is a consolation race for those horses that didn’t get into the Plate and is run over the same distance, 2m 56yds. 

Ralph Beckett has one of the top weights with Brasca who won at Salisbury in April but then ran down the field at Chester in May. He looks too high in the weights here. 

Roger Varian’s Zeeband is fancied after showing good form last season winning twice but he could only manage third on his seasonal debut at Newmarket in May when fancied. 

Ian Williams has East Asia in the lineup who has shown much-improved form this season and is now on a four-timer after a win at Newbury and two at Goodwood, but this is a big step up in class and he has a penalty to carry after those wins. 

I like the look of William Haggas’s A Star Above who has run very consistently this season. He tired and had second snatched from him at Doncaster first time out in April but bounced back from that to win at Newmarket three weeks later. In his latest run at Pontefract, he was just headed on the line. It remains to be seen if he handles the surface but he is on a good mark and can go well here.

The main race on the card is at 3.30 the William Hill Northumberland Plate Handicap and Alan King sends one of his stable stars here to carry top weight, that horse is Trueshan. He won a Group 2 at Ascot on Champions Day last October then came out this season to run in the Ormonde Stakes at Chester going down by just three-quarters of a length to Japan but if he should carry 10st 4lbs round here that would be some feat. 

Ian Williams’s Reshoun comes here after a win at Royal Ascot but he has 5lbs extra for that victory. There is an Irish raider in the form of Grandmaster Flash trained by Joseph O’Brien who has won three times on the all-weather at Dundalk, two of which were this season but he was beaten over 10 lengths when running at Chester in May. 

Jim Goldie’s Nicholas T was a fine winner at York a fortnight ago and he has also been victorious here at Newcastle last November but this is a big step up in trip for Goldie’s charge, especially with the penalty he has for the York win. 

So as much as I wish to see Trueshan run well, I move to the other end of the handicap for my idea of the winner and that is Tom Dascombe’s Rajinsky. He was seventh in this last year but has learned a lot since then. This season, he won at Ripon in April then ran a good second on heavy ground at Haydock last month. He has previously won on the all-weather at Wolverhampton and can step up to take this.

Newcastle Lucky Fifteen
1.45 Victory Heights
2.20 Diligent Harry
2.55 A Star Above
3.30 Rajinsky
Bet this lucky 15 now on Bet365

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