2.40 Newcastle: Class 4 Handicap, 1m 4½f
Small but ultra-competitive field. Paddypley drops in class and went close the last time; he’s sure to have a big shout. French recruit Stonific is an interesting contender for David O’Meara. His opening mark looks very workable. Recent CD scorer Theglasgowwarrior may not be stopped by a 5lb hike in the mark.
Yet, The Resdev Way seems to be the forgotten horse in the race, certainly in the betting. The five-year old gelding, however, has a sensational course and distance record. From five runs he won three and was placed in two others, while his last CD effort, back in 2016, when he finished third off 4lb higher than his current handicap mark, is quite a strong piece of form as well.
Things didn’t go to plan for quite a while afterwards. Neither on the flat nor over hurdles did he show anything, until he returned to his beloved Newcastle mid-January, then over 2 miles – he travelled strongly, looked like the winner when approaching the final furlong, though, he bumped into a well handicapped individual who found more when The Resdev Way tired in the dying strides over a trip probably stretching his stamina.
Still, a fine piece of form, given the winner has won subsequently again. The Resdev Way returned ten days later at Chelmsford over 1m 5½f, without landing a blow. I wouldn’t judge him too harshly on that, as clearly here at Newcastle he seems to be an entirely different beast.
Finally he returns to Newcastle over his optimum trip; with Paul Hannagan booked for the ride, I feel The Resdev Way is overpriced in this race, despite its competitive nature.
10pts win – The Resdev Way @ 14/1 VC
9.00 Chelmsford: Class 5 Handicap, 1 mile
Gala Celebration returns from a break for a new yard. He has shown in the past he can win fresh; in fact 11 months ago fresh reappearing from a 156 day-long break, he got off the mark in a 7f Handicap at Lingfield, putting up a near freakish performance from the front – in the context of the class of the race and level of the horses involved – when overcoming a wide draw and coming home strongly totally unchallenged.
He didn’t strolled along that day, he set good fractions, yet nothing in the race could get by him, he ran them totally into the ground.
He was pretty on and off in all his next starts. However, now back from a break and 2lb lower in the mark than for last year’s Lingfield success, he seems dangerously weighted in this contest.
That says, Gala Celebration needs to stretch out to a mile, a trip he has tried twice before. He didn’t run too badly on turf in softish conditions and certainly it looks possible on pedigree.
Interesting jockey booking with Jamie Spencer taking the ride on what is Ian Williams’ sole runner on the night. Both enjoy an excellent strike rate together and with the additional aid of a good draw it looks likely that Gala Celebration is ready for a big run.
10pts win – Gala Celebration @ 9/2 GB