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ITV Racing action on Saturday comes from Newmarket and Newcastle where the Northumberland Plate is the feature contest in the UK and is joined by the the Irish Derby at the Curragh on an eight-race programme.
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Newcastle 14:20 – Diligent Harry
A non-runner in the Commonwealth Cup due to the very soft ground, Clive Cox’s runner is proven on an artificial surface having won at Lingfield, Kempton and Wolverhampton. Diligent Harry looked really good when winning the three-year-old all-weather Championship race at Lingfield on Finals day, beating a really good yardstick in the Mighty Gurkha. His second to Rohaan at Lingfield also. looks even better now that he won the Wokingham Handicap on the Saturday of Royal Ascot. Khaadem is really interesting ran a hell of a race last year in the July Cup behind Oxted at Newmarket.
Newmarket 14:40 – Max Vega
They thought enough of Max Vega to run him in the Epsom Derby last year when he was well beaten behind Serpentine. There is no doubt he is talented as he won the Zetland Stakes over the Rowley Mile course as a two-year-old. He has now been gelded and it can change a horse’s thinking and improve his concentration levels. He has not run for 252 days but Ralph Beckett knows what he is doing.
The St Leger winner Logician probably didn’t enjoy his reappearance at Newbury as the ground changed to soft. He broke the track record at Doncaster when winning the final Classic of the season last year. He could be a good thing if he is back to that form but Max Vega is a value alternative.
Newcastle 14:55 – Blow Your Horn
This is the consolation race for those who have been balloted out of the Northumberland Plate. Blow Your Horn has a really good record on the artificial surface and won at this track in April off a 10lb lower mark. He was a very easy winner that day and travelled beautifully throughout over 1m 4f.
This longer trip shouldn’t be a problem for him and Jamie Spencer can ride him with the confidence you’d expect from him. Zeeband is interesting with the visor on for the first time and looked like he was saving a bit for himself at Newmarket. It was soft ground that day and the headgear should help him concentrate his efforts.
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Newcastle – 15:30 Trueshan
I have gone round the houses looking at angles to take Trueshan and each time I come to a dead end. He’s rated 118 and is carrying 10-4 with Rhys Clutterbuck taking 5lbs off. He was taken out of the Ascot Gold Cup because of the soft ground and many though he would have been a player there on quick ground. He is a very smart stayer and can win.
Themaxwecan has only run once on an artificial surface when winning at Chelmsford in 2019. He’s interesting and could out-run his odds. Australis and Island Brave are closely matched on previous running, while Reshoun was a game winner at Royal Ascot. I can’t get past Trueshan though.
Newmarket 15:15 – Duke of Hazzard (each-way)
This is a tough puzzle to solve as a few of these have met previously. Tinker Toy is unexposed and could be open to more improvement but the ground is the key to him. He is by War Front and his progeny like fast ground so he should definitely be at home on this surface.
Duke of Hazzard was a beaten favourite at York in the Ganton Stakes and has some good form to his name at 7 furlongs. This is the ideal trip for him and looks a very good each way play in a trappy contest.
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