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17:25 Newcastle – Maytal (nap)
Maytal is bred in the purple being by Sea The Stars out of Midsummer, making her a half-sister to the multiple Group 1 winner Midday. Maytal was easy to back and duly ran very green on her debut at Kempton in November, but she still showed plenty of ability in finishing third, keeping on well despite carrying her head awkwardly to be beaten only four and a quarter lengths.
That form is comfortably the best on offer in this line-up, while the small ‘p’ attached to her Timeform rating denotes that she is likely to go on improving as she gains in experience. Therefore, Maytal rates a confident selection to get off the mark at the second attempt for Sir Michael Stoute, who continues in red-hot form with 10 winners from his last 18 runners.
19:25 Newcastle – Baby Alya (next best)
Baby Alya looked a bright prospect when making a successful debut over this course and distance in September, overcoming unfavourable circumstances to win with a bit in hand. She was held up in the early stages and still had plenty of ground to make up entering the final two furlongs, conceding first run to the favourite as a result.
However, the way Baby Alya quickened late on to assume command and win by a length and a quarter immediately marked her down as above average. She is open to further progress with that run under her belt and should prove up to defying a penalty on her way to bigger and better things.
18:55 Newcastle – Rainbow’s Gift (each-way)
Rainbow’s Gift showed only modest form in three starts as a two-year-old, but he appeals as the type who should have more to offer now making the switch to handicaps. He shaped well in a couple of novice events in the autumn, producing his best effort when fourth over this course and distance in September. He was clearly still learning but made some good late headway to pass the post only five and a half lengths behind the fairly useful winner.
Gelded during the winter, Rainbow’s Gift has certainly shown enough to suggest that an opening BHA mark of 62 won’t prove his limit, so he could be worth a small each-way interest for Jedd O’Keeffe, who has returned a profit of £22.50 to a £1 level stake with horses running after a break.
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