Four To Follow: Northumberland Plate & Irish Derby

We’re all on the come-down from Royal Ascot this week, but there is still top-class action to be had. There’s big handicap action up at Newcastle, with the Northumberland Plate the feature on Saturday, and two Group One’s over at The Curragh this weekend. Here are four Best Bets over the weekend.


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12:55 – Chipchase Stakes (Group Three) – Brad The Brief @ 4/1 (BetVictor)

Brad The Brief is making his seasonal reappearance for Hugo Palmer, a little later than predicted. The ground on the all-weather at Newcastle is Standard to slow, which does give an advantage to those horses that prefer it a bit softer on turf. Secondly, his record fresh isn’t bad, winning twice out of five, those two coming in similar contests. He hasn’t run on the UK all-weather since a two-year-old at Wolverhampton. Price represents good value, against a horse who has an excellent record on the All-weather, in Tiber Flow.


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14:05 – NORTHUMBERLAND PLATE (Heritage H’cap) – ADJUVANT @ 6/1 (BetVictor, Boylesports)

The Northumberland Plate is one of those races where you can, more often than not, find the winner. In the past 10 runnings of the race, the biggest priced winners were 33/1 and 16/1. If you head towards the market, you should land on the winner. Which is why I’ve gone with Adjuvant. He’s been kept fresh since winning a class three handicap at Newmarket, and was raised four pounds for that win. He was a regular feature in big three-year-old handicaps last year, being placed in the Melrose his best result. Talented Billy Loughnane gets the leg up, and rode a double at Bath this week, and jockey form like that can’t be ignored. And last time he was at Newcastle, he rode a treble. Step up in trip won’t be a problem, and all-weather should suit, given he’s making his debut on the surface.

Staying at the top of the shop, Omniscient for the legend that is Sir Mark Prescott can’t be ignored. Makes his reappearance, off the back of a win at the end of last season, on the all-weather. He may have had a steep rise in the handicap, but Prescott must feel that it is a fair mark for him. He’s at a 33%, which shows evidence of his shrewdness and knowledge, and has a good chance to add the Pitman’s Derby to an illustrious CV. Omniscient with each-way claims at 10/1 (General)


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15:25 – Pretty Polly Stakes (Group One) – Never Ending Story @ 5/1 (BetVictor)

Looking at this race on paper, it doesn’t scream Group One. We’ve had a few races like this, this season, and the quality doesn’t fill me with much joy. Which is why I’m taking advantage of the massive allowances that two of these fillies get. Never Ending Story is one of these, and has raced in two Group One’s this season. Both were in France, and both times she lost to Blue Rose Cen. In the Prix de Diane, she ran a second and was more suited to the trip. She may be playing second-fiddle, but I think everyone’s on the wrong O’Brien horse.



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3:40 – IRISH DERBY (GROUP ONE) – Proud And Regal E/W @ 40/1 (BetVictor)

Auguste Rodin will win it. The market says so, and everyone else does. He performed to his absolute best at Epsom, and should be as on song as he was at Epsom three weeks ago. Sprewell and White Birch did run on well in behind, but I feel that Sprewell isn’t group one quality, and White Birch is second-best. But Proud And Regal at 40/1 is an each-way shout that I can’t be having. It was the wrong decision to make him step down in trip for the Irish Guineas, but hat form stood up at Royal Ascot which benefits him. He was third behind Sprewell on heavy ground over 10 furlongs, and you felt that a step up in trip would be better than stepping down. The ground will be to his liking, and he’s a Group One winner (in France), which everyone seems to have forgotten. He’s also bred for a Derby, by Galileo, and related to a few middle-distance horses.

The very best of luck!

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