JUST IN TIME (1.50) can get favourite backers off to a flying start at Leicester.
Alan King's three-year-old is on a roll and should complete his hat-trick with little fuss. His last victory came on the all-weather but he handled today's testing ground when chasing home Bolder Bob over course and distance earlier in the season. Crushed was seven lengths back in third and that horse is fancied for a handicap at Catterick later in the day.
FIRST QUEST (4.10) could never lay a glove on knockout winner Brandon Castle on his last visit to Catterick but he could go one better this afternoon.
Sylvester De Sousa gets the leg up on Ed Dunlop's blinkered three-year-old and the form of that previous effort is working out well. First Quest had Fulham eight lengths back in third, with Lombardy Star trailing in fourth.
Fulham came out at Lingfield last week and was beaten on the nod by in-form Imphal, while Star Of Lombardy won his next start.
The danger is top weight The New Pharaoh but he has his quirks. He should have won on this card two years ago but after hitting the front going well over a furlong out, he ducked left and crashed through the rails. The New Pharoah ideally wants it soft and ran well enough at Leicester last time to suggest he arrives here in decent nick.
BALASHAKH (5.25) looks too big a price at around 8-1 in the 1m 4f maiden at Newcastle.
It is easy enough to pick holes in the form of the market leaders and although Balashakh is fairly exposed, David Simcock's three-year-old has been tackling some seasoned handicappers.
His last run at Newmarket came in a particularly strong event won by Torcello, with the placed horses, Lunar Jet and Ply, both winning in grand style in recent weeks. Balashakh should be backed each-way and I'll be very disappointed if he cannot at least hit the frame.
- Leicester 1.50 – Just In Time 7-4 Skybet
- Catterick 4.10 – First Quest 11-4 bet365
- Newcastle 5.25 – Balashakh ew 6-1 Ladbrokes