Veteran Royal Birth looks a good bet to continue his renaissance in the Betway Conditions Stakes at Newcastle.
Nick Robson's tips
FAIRYHOUSE: 11.50 Brawler, 12.20 Stoughan Cross, 12.50 Light Brigade, 1.20 Low Sun, 1.55 An Taibhse, 2.25 Julies Stowaway, 3.00 Brosna Rocco, 3.30 Wavylake.
LINGFIELD: 12.40 Lottie Marie, 1.10 Save The Spirit, 1.45 Spurofthemoment, 2.15 Stay Smart, 2.50 Tick Toch, 3.20 Miss Elsa, 3.50 By Jove.
NEWCASTLE: 3.25 Zabeel Star, 4.00 Herculean, 4.30 Mythmaker, 5.00 ROYAL BIRTH, 5.30 Vintager, 6.00 Baileys Warrior, 6.30 Higher Kingdom.
WETHERBY: 12.30 Dreams Of Home, 1.00 Lust For Glory, 1.30 Rockstar Ronnie, 2.05 Eclair D’Ainay, 2.35 Potters Venture, 3.10 Mortens Leam, 3.40 Tweed Skirt.
DOUBLE: Royal Birth and Herculean
Newcastle stages the latest Fast Track Qualifier, and the veteran Royal Birth looks a good bet to continue his renaissance in the Betway Conditions Stakes.
The Stuart Williams-trained 10-year-old has won his last two outings, both over the minimum trip at Lingfield.
But while he officially won over five furlongs last time out, he must have covered a fair bit more given his wayward tendencies.
Royal Birth hung right off the home bend before then hanging back into his left, but he managed to get up to win close home. Thankfully Newcastle is straight.
A real all-weather specialist, he is rated some 16lb lower on turf yet he is not a million miles away from his career-high mark, suggesting he retains plenty of ability.
It is a testament to Williams’ skill as a trainer that a sprinter of this age is still competing at such a high level, and it would be nice to see him book a spot on Good Friday.
Williams may already be on the board by then, courtesy of the giant Herculean in the Bombardier British Hopped Amber Beer Handicap.
From a famous Juddmonte family, it is fair to say Herculean has not lived up to early expectations since winning on his debut for Roger Charlton.
Despite being winless in his last six outings, the handicapper has refused to relent and he finds himself just 2lb lower than his opening handicap mark – which indicates somebody thinks the ability is in there somewhere.
He showed up well for a long way on his debut for Williams at Newmarket in July but was then last of eight at Ascot on his next outing in in October.
While he did win on his debut at Ascot, he also disappointed on his final run for Charlton there, and might be one of those who dislikes the place.
He has only run on the all-weather once – and although he was well beaten, it is too early to say he will not prove as effective, and this son of Frankel and Group One sprinter African Rose may be best caught fresh.
There is another qualifier for Good Friday over a mile, and Vintager looks the one to be on in the Bombardier Conditions Stakes.
A smart performer for David Menuisier, he was bought by Godolphin – for whom he won at Group Three and Group Two level.
He now finds himself with Simon and Ed Crisford – and he made the perfect start for new connections at Chantilly last month.
Vintager looked in a different league to his French rivals that day, and it means he should arrive here at the top of his game.
Mark Johnston has made a rapid start to 2021 and should be on the mark with Baileys Warrior in the Play Ladbrokes 5-A-Side On Football Novice Stakes.
A filly by The Gurkha, she did everything but win on debut when beaten a head at Wolverhampton.
She outran her 14/1 odds that day, which is always a good sign, and the penny seemed to drop late on – suggesting she should be sharper now.
David O’Meara’s Save The Spirit can defy a penalty in the Betway Novice Stakes at Lingfield.
Fourth on debut, he got up close home last time out at Newcastle, looking strongest at the finish.
None of those who have run set an exalting standard against him here.
Over jumps at Wetherby, Nicky Henderson’s Cheltenham Festival winner Dame De Compagnie was entered in the Racing TV EBF Mares’ Novices’ Chase – but the master of Seven Barrows instead runs Lust For Glory.
A decent hurdler, she was second to Not So Sleepy in the first of his two wins in Ascot’s Betfair-sponsored big handicap hurdle last term.
First time out this season, she faced what hindsight has proven to be a very stiff task at Wincanton.
In a handicap she was in receipt of just 4lb from Alan King’s Messire Des Obeaux, who that day was returning from a monster absence.
He has since followed up in Grade Two company on the bridle and looks to retain all his old ability, so Lust For Glory will be better off back in against her own sex.
Dan Skelton’s Eclair D’Ainay took to the occupation with relish on his chasing debut – as do so many from the yard.
His 10-length Chepstow win in November – from subsequent winner On The Tear – featured a fine round of jumping and a strong finish.
The Sixt Car Hire Handicap Chase looks a taxing assignment at this still very early stage of the seven-year-old’s career, but he could be another rising star for the Skeltons at a course where they like to test the potential of some of their best.
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