Lucky 15 Tips for Saturday’s ITV Racing (27/06/20)
On Northumberland Plate day at Newcastle, the racecourse stands are normally crowded with many thousands of enthusiastic Geordie fans. On Saturday, racing is staged behind closed doors but the ‘Pitman’s Derby’ has still attracted a competitive field, and that race alongside two other Group 3 contests from the card are featured in this preview.
Another event is selected from Newmarket for Lucky 15 purposes with all four races set to be televised on ITV.
Betfair Chipchase Stakes – 1.50 Newcastle
Michael Stoute is sending up Mubakker for this 6f Group 3 race with the 4-year-old colt winning a handicap over course and distance at the beginning of June. A winner of two other races on a similar artificial surface, he has failed in his only two attempts on turf.
Challenging the Stoute horse will be the more locally trained Brando. The veteran 8-year-old competed at Group 1 level for much of last season but his only success arrived via a lower grade 6f race at Hamilton. He was a Group 3 winner at Newmarket back in April 2018.
Two other horses worth considering include Judicial and Major Jumbo. The former gelding is another 8-year-old and was a narrow second in a recent Group 3 contest at Newmarket, but he won a Listed contest over 6f at Lingfield back in November. Once again attempts this extended trip.
Major Jumbo was third in that Newmarket race and is another horse with proven winning form in Listed company at this distance. He was also campaigned at the highest level last term.
Tip – Mubakker to win.
Betway Criterion Stakes – 2.40 Newmarket
Limato reappears for another season as he competes in this Group 3 seven furlongs contest. The 8-year-old gelding raced in group company in all five races last term winning the Randox Health Criterion Stakes at this course. He is a versatile performer at both 6f and 7f and is a useful performer at this level.
In opposition will be Mubtasim from the Charlie Appleby yard and who is another course and distance winner having won a handicap last year. However, he has yet to win a group race.
Vale of Kent is another horse who has been campaigned mostly in handicap company and he last won when scoring in a Newmarket race during July last year, whereas top-weight Sir Dancealot was a twice-winner in Group 2 company last season including the Lennox Stakes at Goodwood. This distance appears ideal.
Tip – Sir Dancealot to Win.
Betfair Hoppings Fillies Stakes – 3.00 Newcastle
For this 1m2f Group 3 race, Aloe Vera missed an engagement in the Wolferton Stakes at Ascot to compete in this contest. Although she has won her only starts, there will be some concern that her last racecourse appearance was back in May last year.
In contrast, Virgin Snow claimed a useful handicap over this distance at Haydock earlier this month although her 2-year-old form was nothing special in two races.
Meanwhile, the mare Nkosikazi will have benefited from winning a handicap at Redcar last week, but that success was her first victory in nearly two years whereas Look Around has been competing at this level since 2018 without much success. However, the 4-year-old filly could improve for this extra distance after being outpaced over one mile at Newbury two weeks previously.
Tip – Look Around to Win.
Betfair Northumberland Plate Handicap – 3.35 Newcastle
Staged over approximately two miles, this expensive Class 2 handicap attracts trainers from across the country with Roger Varian saddling the expected favourite Australis. A consistent performer last season, the 4-year-old gelding won over 1m6f at Wolverhampton earlier this month on a similar artificial surface and is lowly weighted.
Caravan Of Hope from the Hugo Palmer yard should also be a contender after finishing less than a length behind Australis and is slightly better at the weights. He also won his last two races of the 2019 campaign.
A close fourth at Royal Ascot over 2m3f, Smart Champion could also be prominent. He was a course and distance winner back in February and the long steady climb to the finish should suit his proven stamina. Carnwennan is weighted to reverse the form of that February race with Smart Champion and he won this contest last season after winning May prep races at Chelmsford and York.
Another challenger to note is Rainbow Dreamer who finished third in a Group 3 race over course and distance during the first week of June. Trained by the in-form Alan King, he had won four successive races during the Winter and seems to relish this type of surface.
Tip – Rainbow Dreamer to Win.
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