Quotes and analysis on a hot Newcastle sprint worthy of a Saturday slot | Horse Racing News

John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)

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Copper Knight has run well at Newcastle in the past

John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)

Friday: 6.35 Newcastle
Jenningsbet Gosforth Park Cup Handicap | 5f | 3yo + | Sky

Word has evidently got around about this recently revived prize, which has the grade and purse of the sort of sprint handicaps we see most Saturdays on ITV.

Last year, winner Caspian Prince was 12 and the two four-year-olds finished outside of the top ten. The younger group this time are greater in both number and interest, so it may be wise to focus on them in what looks a heat worthy of Saturday’s televised card.

The other thing to look out for is the draw. High numbers are generally favoured on Newcastle’s straight course and there is a concentration of pace in this race among the middle to high numbers, starting with Digital in stall seven.

It looks like you will have to choose between the unexposed and the provisionally well-positioned. Some of the most interesting young horses, notably Fernando Rah and City Walk who have both improved significantly on the all-weather in 2022, are drawn much nearer the far rail in stalls three and four respectively. It is suggested that they rightly hold sway in the early betting, as their progressive profiles are built on some solid formlines.

If you are willing to push all in on pace, Stone Of Destiny in 14 and particularly Saluti in 13 should hold your interest. The latter has slipped to a good mark and might have won at Doncaster last time with a clearer run. His wins have come up stiff finishes, which is something Newcastle provides and he is positioned to get a good drag into the race from those immediately to his left.

Indeed, right next door is Copper Knight, who made all in this race four years ago and has finished second and fifth in the last two runnings.
Race analysis by Keith Melrose

What they say

Tom Marquand, rider of Venturous
He has proven form over the course and distance but probably needs to get everything right, especially in the gates.

Tim Easterby, trainer of Copper Knight, Count D’Orsay and Premier Power
Copper Knight runs well at Newcastle when the surface rides right for him, but I couldn’t tell you what day that’ll be. He’s won the race before, but has also run some ordinary races there. He’s in good order after his Chester win last time. Count D’Orsay is in great form and likes a slow track. He’s been very consistent and should have a good chance. Premier Power ran a right nice race at York last time, loves the all-weather and would also have a good chance.

Steve Brown, husband and assistant to Julie Camacho, trainer of Makanah
He’s been running extremely well without winning and the stiff five at Newcastle should suit him well. We’re not stacked with experience on the surface, but there’s no reason why he shouldn’t run well on it. He’s well and we expect a good run.

Alastair Donald, racing manager to King Power Racing, owners of Stone Of Destiny
Everything needs to fall right for him and he wants a strong pace, but he’s going to turn up in one of these races soon. He’s getting a bit wise with age and we thought blinkers would sharpen him up.

Grant Tuer, trainer of the Illusionist
We thought it was the only option for him as he doesn’t like fast ground and Newcastle favors hold-up horses. It looks the best fit to try to repeat what he did at York and he’ll sit last and hopefully pick them up all late on.

Harry Herbert, managing director of Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, owners of Digital
He’s a talented horse on his day and seems in very good form. He ran a stinker at York earlier this season but other than that he’s been very consistent. He has good form on the all-weather and is reported to be kicking and bucking at home.
Reporting by Andrew Dietz

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