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Successful Royal Ascot trainer eyes Pitmens’ Derby joy
Newmarket trainer John Gosden, who sent out no less than five winners at Royal Ascot last week, can clinch a Derby victory at Newcastle tomorrow.
The £140,000 John Smith’s Northumberland Plate, perhaps even better known as the ‘Pitmens’ Derby’, is one of the richest staying handicaps in Britain and Gosden has excellent prospects of victory with Palazzo Bianco, the mount of Nicky Mackay.
Lightly-raced, the four-year-old has finished third on both his outings this season, the first on Polytrack and the latest on turf at Haydock where he stayed on strongly over tomorrow’s distance of two miles to win from Lordofthehouse.
Palazzo Bianco has proved his ability to cope with the mud, which will be of prime importance here with heavy ground assured. Furthermore, a light weight promises to be essential in such a gruelling race and Palazzo Bianco figures at the foot of the handicap.
The North Yorkshire trio, French Hollow, Lexington Bay and High Office also make appeal, but conditions will not be helpful to our county’s classy veteran Blue Bajan, winner of last year’s Group 2 Henry ll Stakes at Sandown.
Richard Fahey, trainer of Lexington Bay and High Office, has good prospects of book- ending the card with winners.
In the opening Betfred Chipchase Stakes, a Group 3 affair, the Malton trainer saddles Mayson, impressive winner of two races at Newmarket before becoming upset at the stalls before the Duke Of York Stakes on Knavesmire last month and failing to run his race.
In the hope that he proves more amenable at the start this time, he is taken to have the edge over Kevin Ryan’s Ayr Gold Cup winner Our Jonathan.
Fahey can also win the closing Betfred ‘The Bonus King’ Handicap with Hi There, successful on his latest start at Musselburgh and capable of even better. Barry McHugh again has the mount on the nap selection.
Mass Rally is a horse with masses of ability, but is notoriously tricky to win with, as he proved at Doncaster recently when Paul Mulrennan waited until the final 50 yards to deliver his challenge, only to be denied by a nose in a thrilling finish. Mulrennan gets another chance on the Michael Dods-trained gelding in the Betfred Mobile Sports Handicap.
Mass Rally has the talent to win, but backing him is likely to prove a nail-biting experience.
At Doncaster’s evening meeting, Constans may be worth a second look in the opening juvenile maiden.
The newcomer is trained by Clive Cox, who introduced Reckless Abandon, subsequently a winner at Royal Ascot, on this course last month. Constans is a son of Holy Roman Emperor and is not one to overlook with Adam Kirby on board.
Johannes (6.40), the mount of 7lb claimer George Chaloner, ran well enough to finish fourth on quicker than ideal ground at Yarmouth on his latest start to suggest he can make his mark on a more suitable surface.
Hayley Turner has a useful chance on course winner Suraj (7.45), a good fourth at Newmarket last time, while Geoff Oldroyd and Reg Bond can strike with the progressive Alfred Hutchinson (8.15), a winner at York last month.
2.15 Mayson, 2.45 Mass Rally, 3.20 Palazzo Bianco, 3.55 Fieldgunner Kirkup, 4.25 Opt Out, 4.55 Party Line, 5.30 Hi There (NAP).
6.05 Constans, 6.40 Johannes, 7.15 Bop It, 7.45 Suraj, 8.15 Alfred Hutchinson, 8.45 Circle Of Angels.
Tomorrow’s other meetings
Chester, Lingfield, Newmarket and Windsor.
Chester, Doncaster, Folkestone, Musselburgh, Newcastle and Newmarket.
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