My name is Mike Ashurst, and my speciality is finding value in the big Saturday afternoon handicaps for all codes of racing. Each Friday afternoon I will focus on some of the most valuable and/or competitive races of the weekend and try to find some early value. I will offer my opinion on the value or otherwise at the top of the market and highlight a few horses that I think might represent some decent early opportunities.
Newcastle 14:05 Class 2 Handicap 6f (Good to firm)
Muthmir is the clear favourite here, which is probably fair. However, 7/2 is too short for me for a horse that was beaten favourite last time and hasn’t run for ten months. 7/1 for Clear Spring is much more like it, but it will not be easy giving weight all round and will need to repeat his last performance to defy this mark. Mississippi made a good reappearance, if he can build on that then he could also get involved at 10/1.
Newcastle 15:15 Class 2 Handicap 7f (Good to firm)
Of those at the top of the market, Dream Walker looks the best value at 11/2. Almargo has a good chance with the weight allowance but may find this tough against some experienced rivals. Further down, Smarty Socks is not the force of old but under these conditions can go well at 10/1. If Cosmic Chatter enjoys this longer trip then he also has a chance at 11/1.
Newcastle 15:50 Class 2 Handicap 2m (Good to firm)
Angel Gabrial and Suegioo are at the head of the market based on their 1-2 last time out, but I’m not sure how that Chester form will translate. Van Percy ran a blinder last time and shaped as if the extra distance will suit, so at 11/1 makes a lot of appeal. Totalize is another one heading in the right direction and is likely to be suited by the step up in trip, so 16/1 shouldn’t last. Of the others, Noble Silk showed he handles the trip last time and Tropical Beat is a consistent sort so at 20/1 both seem reasonable each way prospects. Also of interest is Mawaqeet, this one has proven he handles quick ground and if he can show anything like the form of last year at this trip then surely 33/1 is too big.