Withhold has been lightly raced in recent years, but he is a very smart performer and makes plenty of appeal in the Sagaro Stakes, which has been switched to the all-weather at Newcastle this year.
He defied a nine-month absence to win the Northumberland Plate over this course and distance in 2018 (Prince of Arran finished second), and has since added the Marsh Cup at Newbury and a Listed event at Newmarket to his CV. Withhold’s record when fresh further strengthens his claims and, with conditions in his favour, he is a strong fancy here. Blinkers replace his usual cheek-pieces.
Daarik broke his maiden in good style over this course and distance in 2018, leaving his modest debut effort well behind, and he improved further in another quiet campaign last year. Daarik won a minor event at Kempton before progressing further in defeat when runner-up to Fox Power in a Listed event over a mile at this course on his final start.
He threw down a strong challenge to the winner, but didn’t quite see the trip out as strongly, so the drop back to seven furlongs now looks a good move. He has been gelded since, and this lightly-raced four-year-old is the type to go on improving for a while yet.
There are some unexposed handicap debutants in this field, namely Emraan and Plantadream, but Family Fortunes is a very consistent performer at this level, and could offer a bit of value.
Family Fortunes shaped better than the bare result when last seen at Kempton in February, racing wide and leading inside the final furlong before being headed by some fast closers. Family Fortunes is now 5 lb below his last winning mark and has strong each-way claims.
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