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The Ed Walker-trained KINGBOARD STAR looked useful when scoring in quite taking fashion on his Bath debut and is taken to see off Secret Strength, who should find this a lot easier than the Coventry at Royal Ascot. Scattering and Mehsmerise are newcomers to note in the betting.
If Major Jumbo returns to the form of his third in the Chipchase Stakes on this card 12 months ago, he’ll be hard to beat from a falling mark. He’s tempting, as is Fleeting Prince, who was gelded after his third at Newmarket in April. Ejtilaab, 2-2 over 6f, is another to consider seriously, but the verdict goes to STREAMLINE, a lightly raced 4yo who wasn’t himself without the hood last time but comes firmly into the reckoning on his victory over Summerghand at Wolverhampton the time before.
A warmly contested renewal of the Chipchase can go to KHUZAAM. Roger Varian’s progressive AW specialist has shown his best form over 7f and 1m but a well-run 6f on this stiff track could play to his strengths. The chief threat could be the 3yo Diligent Harry who is almost certainly open to further improvement and looks well worth his place in a Group 3. Chil Chil, Tabdeed and Good Effort complete the shortlist.
Among the solid each-way contenders in a typically competitive Vase are Raymond, who keeps progressing and is 1-1 here, and Byron Hill, who has untapped potential now that he returns to 2m. Course winner Dreamweaver and the stoutly bred Blow Your Horn are others who could improve for today’s longer trip, but, assuming he proves as effective for Ian Williams on the AW as turf, the one to beat is EAST ASIA, who has a perfect 3-3 record for his current yard and is very well treated under a penalty. Second choice is Zeeband, followed closely by the thriving Indigo Times.
The presence of such a high-ranking stayer as Trueshan adds huge interest and he’s on the shortlist, but top of that list is DUBIOUS AFFAIR (nap) who is well handicapped, progressive and seemingly crying out for another go at 2m. She will need a bit of luck coming from off the pace, which she didn’t get at one vital stage at Royal Ascot, but she has a significantly longer straight here in which to make up her ground. Australis has nothing to prove here and may end up her chief rival, with Stargazer an each-way possibility at probably much bigger odds. Wide draws pose problems for Rajinsky and Alright Sunshine who would otherwise be serious each-way contenders.
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The lightly raced Newmarket raiders HASTY SAILOR and Second Slip might be the only ones in this field with potential and they are preferred in that order, ahead of the reliable Firewater. The most interesting case among the rest could belong to Weather Front.
With Zip in opposition, it’s unlikely that Red Mirage will get the gift of a lead he exploited at Kempton but Mark Johnston’s colt is still dangerously unexposed and hugely respected. So too is Oo De Lally given the strength of his latest effort but BAASHIR perhaps struck the front prematurely at York and, with excuses for his only real blip this season, he looks progressive.
It’s possible that the switch to soft ground on turf really suited VANITY AFFAIR when he was an emphatic winner at Nottingham but it’s worth taking the chance that he is improving so fast that he would have produced the same performance on this surface. Arctic Vega, who won his only start here in January and has been in good form at this trip on turf of late, is next best, ahead of Spirit Dancer and Pallas Dancer.
Tips for Newcastle today
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