SPLINTER (1.35) looks a potential class apart from his rivals and is taken to justify favouritism at Newcastle on Thursday
Richard Fahey gave him his introduction at York and Splinter stayed on into fourth after missing a beat at the start through greenness. He wasn’t beaten far in a tight finish, finding himself a bit short of room through the final stages, and should take full advantage of the weight he receives from Brunch, a course winner for Michael Dods.
NATALEENA (5.40) does all her racing these days at Newcastle and this dual course winner can rack up the hat-trick if Ben Haslam has her tuned up for this two-mile handicap. She had Zabeel Star just over a length behind when third and fifth respectively to Nearly There over course and distance in March. Zabeel Star often throws away his chance by starting very slowly from the stalls but will be a threat if breaking cleaner. Course winner Assessor is also worth consideration, despite his higher mark.
At Newmarket, John Gosden unleashes two newcomers with tall reputations, with Frankie Dettori taking the mount on EXISTENT (2.25) and SAEIQA (3.00). They carry plenty of stable confidence and my Newmarket contact further tells me the Gosden camp have backed Frankly Darling for the Oaks plus Derby hope Waldkonig.
PACTOLUS (6.30) is better known as an all-weather stalwart but he has decent form on the turf when the track is riding slick. In the hope there isn’t significant rainfall, Pactolus will carry my cash at rewarding each-way odds, with some firms offering four places.
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