The Tote's Kevin O'Malley selects his three dark horses to follow at Newcastle on Saturday.
We look to Newcastle for two of Saturday’s big-race dark horses, along with an improving handicapper well worth considering as he tackles Group class company at Newmarket.
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At the age of seven, it appears that Charlie Fellowes and connections of CHIEFOFCHIEFS have discovered their talented but often luckless handicapper is more of a sprinter. Indeed, the Royal Applause gelding won the silver Wokingham at Royal Ascot last week, to the surprise of many.
He was really nice on the clock as you’d expect and a stiff six furlongs here at Newcastle could suit very well. The stronger the pace the better his chance and I’m not keen to be taking on Ben Curtis too often this season either. His presence in the saddle means he is a worthy Win and Place option, despite being unproven in this sphere.
Perhaps himself and Brando could make it a 1-2 for the old boys and land a Tote Swinger.
Another hoping to stage a successful transition out of handicaps and into the Group race cauldron is Mark Johnston’s VALE OF KENT. This tough son of Kodiac has been plying his trade in the best races around at all kinds of venues and he rarely fails to give punters a fair run for their money.
Frankie Dettori has been drafted in with the task of getting a slip on Limato here and the pair could do just that. Vale Of Kent possesses a potent blend of speed and the ability to stay further. He also likes to lead, which could see him prove tough to catch.
He recorded a Racing Post Rating of 112 when carrying 9st 9lb in fourth behind Dark Vision in the Wokingham. It was backed up by a fast time as you’d expect, and that kind of performance entitles Vale Of Kent to a good crack at the Group 3 Criterion Stakes here.
There may only be six runners for this Group 3 for fillies and mares, but they’re quite the intriguing six. The market is suggesting Aloe Vera is the one to be on, but while she has a nice and unbeaten profile, it’s hard to know how well she’s been tested. Ralph Beckett’s filly hasn’t been seen since May of last year and might be worth taking a pop at.
With nothing overly enticing about those immediately behind her in the early markets, I’ll take a chance on James Fanshawe’s SWEET PROMISE. This 4-y-o by Intello ran poorly first time out behind Fanny Logan, but it was a better effort - albeit still below par - behind Terebellum last time out.
Her opposition is significantly weaker here and she could take another big leap forward on what she’s been able to show so far. A lightly-raced sort who enjoyed a good 2019, it would be disappointing if she weren’t able to progress another bit this season. This is an ordinary enough contest for the grade and with just the five others to beat, she may well be in with every chance under George Wood.Get your free Racing TV fleece - the latest in our range of high-class Racing TV merchandise! Click here for more details.
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