4.10 Newcastle: Class 6 Handicap, 1 mile
Last week’s impressive winner Paparazzi returns here turned out under a penalty. In an even weaker race, and with the memories of his impressive success still fresh in mind, one can clearly see why he is favourite to go back-to-back.
He may well do so as the 6lb penalty looks a lenient “punishment” for his impressive win, albeit only temporarily once the handicapper had the chance to assess. But this is a much bigger field, the pace not be as fast, and both may not suit his running style.
So at given prices I leave him alone and rather focus on potentially well handicapped Traveller. This gelding has dropped to a tasty mark now as well, though ideally he would be drawn not as wide as he is.
Regardless, Traveller ran a series of fairly decent races, starting with a 3rd place finish off 65 over CD in November ending with his most recent effort in early December, another 3rd place over CD.
All three performances, even the low looking 8th place finish at Wolverhampton, were to some extend quite eye-catching as you could give him credit for the fact he wasn’t always in the best position or those horses finishing in front of him got a near perfect run through.
I don’t want to make too many excuses for horses, but these low grade individuals often need nearly everything going right for themselves in order to find back to the winning ways – as we saw with Paparazzi last week who got the perfect race.
Traveller was able to ran to a career highest TS rating of 62 (AW)- and also achieved a 70+ RPR (on AW) on five occasions in the past. He clearly is capable of being a bit better than his current handicap rating; recent performances suggest he is close to his best and close to get his head in front again.
During the 18/19 season the jockey & trainer combo of Hardie & Brittain has produced a positive ROI and a 50% place rate. Hardie rode this lad in his last starts already, which is another positive to see him keeping the ride.
10pts win – Traveller @ 8/1 PP
7.15 Newcastle: Class 5 , 5 furlongs
Quite a tight contest with most in it to win it but hardly anyone appears to be well handicapped. That makes the chance of Miracle Works an interesting one, dropping to the minimum trip for the first time while also dropping to a career lowest handicap mark.
Still a maiden, this big grey gelding has strong form to match anyone in this field to his name thanks to his handicap debut from July last year that came in a hot class 5 handicap over 6f. He went close to win that race – form that has worked out rather well.
Softish conditions on turf weren’t to his liking subsequently; after a break he returned at Kempton over 7f last months but clearly wasn’t in it to win it.
This is only his third handicap start, a drop to 5f may suit and of a 70 mark he looks one of the few here potentially capable of bettering that in the right circumstances.
Miracle Works has an engagement three days later over 6f. If the minimum trip proves to sharp, which it might – though sire stats are encouraging – he’ll certainly be of a lot of interest then once again.
10pts win – Miracle Works @ 12/1 MB