ITV Racing Saturday Preview - 25/06/22

James Mackie | @JMackieRacing

Newcastle (AW) - June 24 2022
Newcastle (AW) 12:50
Oisin Orr

Strike Red

J: Oisin Orr
T: Richard Fahey
Age: 4
Weight: 9-9
OR: 91
Days: 23

The first event of the afternoon on ITV is the Pertemps Network Handicap over six furlongs and Strike Red for Richard Fahey holds big claims.

The four year old is a course and distance winner off a mark of 87 back in September 2021 and now only 4lb higher having his first run back at the track since that win, it makes him interesting.

His recent narrow fourth at Hamilton in a Class 2 Handicap was a step back in the right direction off a mark of 91 and putting it all together back on tapeta makes him interesting.

Newmarket (July) - June 24 2022
Newmarket (July) 13:05
James Doyle


J: James Doyle
T: George Boughey
Age: 2
Weight: 9-2
Days: 33

The first event of the afternoon on ITV from Newmarket is the Listed Empress Stakes over six furlongs and Believing around the 7/1 mark looks overpriced.

The George Boughey trained two year old has been seen twice to date, finishing second behind a nice type in Mawj on debut who was a close second in the Group Three Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot last time out.

Believing got off the mark at the second time of asking at Wolverhampton in May in a Fillies' Novice Stakes and having been nibbled at before not coming out the stalls at Royal Ascot, this event looks much easier and she could go very close.

Newcastle (AW) - June 24 2022
Newcastle (AW) 13:25
Jason Hart


J: Jason Hart
T: Michael Appleby
Age: 3
Weight: 8-12
OR: 95
Days: 14

One of the feature events of the afternoon at Newcastle is the Group Three Chipchase stakes and the outsider of the field at 40/1 Annaf for Michael Appleby looks overlooked in the market.

A smart performer at the start of the year winning two of his three events, both of them at Newcastle and once of them over course and distance.

Looking to make it 3/3 at the track he finished a good fourth behind El Caballo, Tiber Flow and Space Cowboy at the all weather championships.

Moved back to turf at Newmarket he was below par in a good Class 2 Handicap off 96, but was much better at 7f at Goodwood after that when third behind the talented Find who franked the form at Royal Ascot in the Jersey Stakes when second.

Annaf was last seen back at 6f at York being consistent once more when a close up fifth of 19 in a Class 2 Handicap and if improving for the return to the all weather his price 40/1 is massive and he is drawn well.

Newmarket (July) - June 24 2022
Newmarket (July) 13:40
James Doyle


J: James Doyle
T: Charlie Appleby
Age: 4
Weight: 9-2
OR: 108
Days: 14

Another nice event at Newmarket on Saturday is the Listed Fred Archer Stakes over 1m4f and we are siding with the second string for Godolphin Kemari.

The four year old was very smart last year when given a trip to aim at, getting off the mark in emphatic fashion at Yarmouth on his second start and then off the back of that went to Royal Ascot and landed the Group Two Queen's Vase.

Running no race in the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York, he then bounced back to finish a half length second to stablemate Manobo in the Group Two Prix Chaudenay.

Since then he has been seen three times and ran below par in all of them, with his first run of the season last time out looking a pipe opener for this event.

He holds some serious back class and although fourth last time out he wasn't far behind the winner but he will strip much fitter for this event and William Buick may just have made the wrong decision on the Godolphin pair.

Newcastle (AW) - June 24 2022
Newcastle (AW) 13:55
Ben Curtis


J: Ben Curtis
T: Hugo Palmer
Age: 6
Weight: 9-9
OR: 84
Days: 30

In the Consolation race for the Northumberland Plate, the Northumberland Vase looks a very tough event to call and we have played Zoffee at a double figure price.

Formerly with Philip Hobbs over the jumps, after a poor run of form he was given to Hugo Palmer to run on the flat and in both his runs to date he has got that enthusiasm back for the sport.

Finishing a fair third on debut at Salisbury over 14f, it set him up perfectly for his second handicap start at Carlisle where he saw off a course specialist in Detective, with the pair 13 lengths clear of the third.

Only bumped up 3lb for that by the handicapper on a mark of 84, he could still be well in and he will certainly get the trip.

Newmarket (July) - June 24 2022
Newmarket (July) 14:15
James Doyle

Sunray Major

J: James Doyle
T: John & Thady Gosden
Age: 5
Weight: 9-7
OR: 110
Days: 28

The final event from flat racing HQ on Saturday is their feature Group Three Criterion Stakes and we are giving another chance to Sunray Major for John & Thady Gosden.

A five year old that has been very lightly raced through injury, winning on debut back in June 2020 over a mile at Newmarket, he was then seen once more when below par.

Back as a four year old he ran three times, winning at Chelmsford and then landing a 17 runner Handicap at Ascot with plenty in hand.

Since then he has found things difficult running no race in the Balmoral Handicap and on his first two runs this term he has struggled to mix it with the best in the Group Two bet365 Mile and Group One Lockinge.

Back at 7f last time out he was seen to better effect when a very close fourth behind Pogo, Kinross and Lanequash, almost in a four way photo-finish.

He got going late on that day and powered home to nearly get up and getting a clearer run on Saturday he can get back to winning ways.

Newcastle (AW) - June 24 2022
Newcastle (AW) 14:30
David Probert

Valley Forge

J: David Probert
T: Andrew Balding
Age: 4
Weight: 8-9
OR: 93
Days: 35

The feature event of the afternoon at Newcastle is the Northumberland Plate and we are happy to take on the top weighted Trueshan with two against the field.

The first is the Andrew Balding trained Valley Forge who has turned into a very progressive stayer and still only on a mark of 93 could be useful.

Winning two events last year as a three year old back to back firstly at Ffos Las over 12f and then up to 14f at York on the Melrose Handicap he threw out a superb performance to take the prestigious race.

Seen twice this season, he needed his debut at Newmarket over 1m6f in a decent Class 2 Handicap, but he improved massively for that at Haydock when last seen on his first try at two miles when seeing off Golden Flame by a head.

Only up 4lb for that he is unexposed at the trip and looks the type to handle the tapeta surface.

Newcastle (AW) - June 24 2022
Newcastle (AW) 14:30
Benoit De La Sayette

Island Brave

J: Benoit De La Sayette
T: Heather Main
Age: 8
Weight: 9-0
OR: 98
Days: 11

At a huge price of 20/1 Island Brave for Heather Main takes the eye if bouncing back to form having not ran well for nearly a year.

This stayer has been tumbling down the weights for a while now and now only sees himself 1lb higher than his last winning mark of 97.

Third in this race last year off a mark of 100 and also a course and distance at the track off only 1lb lower than he is today, this horse could put it all together and bounce back to his old form over staying trips.

A big each way player back at this track, but he does need to leave his recent form behind him.

Really interesting contender as it could go either way.