Godolphin’s Natural Scenery has been the best-backed horse in the last couple of days for Saturday’s Northumberland Plate and the filly is now 10s from 16/1 with BetVictor for the Pitman’s Derby at Gosforth Park with champion apprentice Josephine Gordon booked to ride.
Newcastle’s three-day Plate meeting begins this afternoon on their tapeta surface and in the Novice Stakes Move It Move It has been rerouted from Carlisle where he was a late absentee from a race yesterday on account of the rain-softened ground.
I was sweet on his chances at the Cumbria track before the rain arrived and am loath to desert him, but Curiosity (2.30) travels north from his Newmarket base for Hugo Palmer and looked a sure-fire future winner when third at Newbury on debut. The aforementioned Josie Gordon takes the ride and this half-brother to two winners is entitled to come on for that initial experience.
Archipeligo (3.05) has been raised 11lbs for turning a recent C&D handicap into a procession winning by no less than seven lengths. That rise is largely negated by the 7lbs claim of his talented apprentice Jamie Gormley today and he gets the vote for Iain Jardine. Hernandoshideaway is fitted with blinkers for the first time and looked more like his old self at Beverley last time – do note if the market speaks in his favour.
The feature race is a £35k Mile Handicap and Replenish (3.40) has an excellent record on the all-weather including when scoring over C&D last June, albeit from a 10lbs lower mark. The selection could not cope with the Newmarket undulations on turf last time and will appreciate this surface for the Diamond Jubilee winning combination of trainer James Fanshawe and jockey Tom Queally.
The lightly-raced Hitchcock (5.55) makes his handicap debut for Kevin Ryan and I am sure he is better than he showed at Ripon last time when the stable of Kevin Ryan were out of sorts. Indeed the handler was forced to suspend operations at the beginning of the month after a case of equine herpes was found at his yard.
The stable have been hitting the bar of late but they need a winner to show they are back to their best form and the suspense for their next winner can be ended by Hitchcock who could be well handicapped from his opening mark of 69.
At Newmarket Rigoletto (5.00) scored at Yarmouth earlier in the month in a mile Maiden and can follow up in a fascinating 3-year-old handicap for Luca Cumani. I am slightly surprised that Daira Prince drops back in trip for Roger Varian having scored over 10f last time and it is worth noting that the jockey on that occasion – Silvestre De Sousa – rides Rebel De Lope on this occasion for Charlie Hills.
They go at Newbury this evening and this is the time of the year to side with progressive three-year-olds against their elders. Godolphin won the corresponding race with a 3-year-old last year and Pilgrim’s Treasure (7.25) is progressing nicely having appreciated both the first-time cheek pieces and soft ground when scoring at Carlisle last time.
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