Saturday’s big races are the Irish Derby at The Curragh, plus the Northumberland Plate at Newcastle.
Derby winner Harzand returns to action today bidding to add the Irish equivalent of the Epsom classic to his burgeoning CV.
He was an impressive and worthy winner of the sport’s most prestigious race three weeks ago, but there have been mixed reports regarding his recovery from what must have been a gruelling contest.
The overnight rain will certainly help his chances, so it is no surprise to see the gap widening between him and Derby third Idaho at the head of the betting.
That pair take a fair chunk out of the market, which should leave some decent value elsewhere.
One solid each way option looks to be RED VERDON, who was fourth at Epsom. He came from a mile back turning in and would have been fourth but for meeting interference twice up the home straight. Any improvement here should see him placed at least.
MOONLIGHT MAGIC is also interesting as he didn’t take to the unique undulations of the Derby course and so his poor showing there can easily be forgiven. Prior to that, he had beaten Idaho and Shogun in the Derrinstown and he could easily outrun his price, especially if the ground dries out at all.
Look out for a decent run from Ebediyin too. He is interesting dropped back in trip and is better than his 80/1 price tag.
|Red Verdon (ew)||5.20 Curragh||11/1||BetVictor, Betfair, Coral|
|Moonlight Magic (ew)||5.20 Curragh||16/1||BetVictor, Betfair|
Back in this country, the feature is the Northumberland Plate, which is being run on the all weather for the first time.
Chester Cup fourth, GABRIAL THE HERO, looks to have strong claims as he is proven on the surface and has a decent swing in the weights with a couple of horses who beat him last time out.
We also like Rail Link as a stallion of stayers, so MY REWARD needs to be supported. Tim Easterby knows how to get a horse to peak for the big occasion and whilst the yard has had a quite couple of seasons this horse has the potential to land them another high profile prize.
The Godolphin pair are respected, but neither is a proven stayer, whilst best of those at bigger prices could be GAVLAR who has a good Polytrack record.
Sky Bet are offering 5 places for each-way bets on this race (4 places elsewhere).
|Gabrial The Hero (ew)||4.15 Newcastle||9/1||Sky Bet|
|My Reward (ew)||4.15 Newcastle||12/1||Bet365|
|Gavlar (ew)||4.15 Newcastle||25/1||Bet365|
Northumberland Vase Handicap
The big race is preceded by the consolation race, the Northumberland Vase, over course and distance.
Another Gabrial, GABRIAL’S KING, looks the one to beat, despite top weight. His jockey takes a handy 7lbs off his back and he did really well to finish fifth in the Chester Cup from a wide draw. He has form on Polytrack and Tapeta.
The lightly raced POYLE THOMAS is an obvious threat. He looks well handicapped based on his best form and showed he retains plenty of ability when runner up on his comeback.
Finally, there is no race in the calendar that local trainer, Brian Ellison, would like to win more than the Northumberland Plate and whilst Seamour looks to have plenty on in that contest, APERTIX should run well for Ellison here. He has been improving over hurdles since last being seen on the flat, has form on the surface and had excuses for a couple of poor runs on the level when he was badly drawn.
The main dangers look to be Sea of Heaven and The Cashel Man.
|Gabrial’s King (ew)||3.40 Newcastle||18/1||Bet365|
|Poyle Thomas (ew)||3.40 Newcastle||11/1||Bet365|
|Apertix (ew)||3.40 Newcastle||20/1||Bet365|