Tom George could have another Sky Bet Supreme horse on his hands and Matt Brocklebank can't wait to see him back in action on Wednesday.
The Big show at Haydock
The Big Bite barely made a ripple in the antepost Cheltenham Festival markets following his hurdling debut success.
Perhaps it was because it came in a minor maiden hurdle at Chepstow in early November. Or due to the fact that he was no better than midfield in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper in March this year.
Maybe it's because he's trained by Tom George - hold on a minute, didn't he train last year's Sky Bet Supreme winner?
You're presumably getting the gist by now that I feel this horse has been drastically underestimated, with 50/1 widely available for both the Festival's curtain-raiser over two miles, as well as the two-mile-five Ballymore.
The five-year-old was a touch wayward last season, despite winning his first two bumpers before being pitched into Grade One company, but we shouldn't be too surprised that a son of Scorpion showed inexperience in his early days.
And he was dead straight in sauntering home under Noel Fehily on last month's jumps bow, something which bodes very well as he bids to concede a winners' penalty in the Watch Racing UK In Stunning HD 'Introductory' Hurdle at Haydock.
Demopolis is a fascinating recruit for JP McManus and Philip Hobbs, having won his sole start over timber in France, and Noble Warrior made no mistake at Uttoxeter, but The Big Bite has star quality and genuine potential to send those huge antepost numbers into free-fall.
Almashriq something to shout about?
If you missed it last week then Daarik’s victory in the six-furlong novice stakes is worth revisiting.
He hadn’t been seen since trailing home last of 10 at Nottingham on his racecourse debut in May and the betting market didn’t quite know what to make of him it seems.
A major steamer early doors, he then drifted right back out to 11/4 a few minutes before the off, before eventually returning the 5/2 second-favourite.
And after appearing pretty raw on his way to post, he returned in some style too, looking beaten when coming under the whip a furlong and a half out before flying home to score with plenty in hand.
His trainer, owner and jockey – namely John Gosden, Hamdan Al Maktoum and Jim Crowley – return for another piece of Gosforth Park action with expensive purchase Almashriq at 5.45.
Gosden’s record on the Newcastle Tapeta stands at an overall strike-rate of 27-75 (36%), and 14-38 (37 %) this season, so anything he sends must be respected but this son of War Front is of particular interest.
Bought out of the Keeneland September sale last year, he made a tidy $1.2m for Bluegrass Thoroughbred, who bred the son of War Front out of Theysken’s Theory, who was Group One-placed a couple of times and beat Blue Bunting five lengths in a Newmarket maiden in 2010.
She’s yet to throw up a significant winner from her three progeny to have run so far – the full-brother, Creative Director taking out a maiden special weight at Presque Isle Downs last summer - but Almashriq cost the most by a long way and he’s clearly in the right hands to set that record straight.
Blue up for Listed honours
The rest of the meeting at Newcastle is pretty lowly stuff but if a sprinkling of Flat quality is what you’re after then head to Kempton’s afternoon fixture.
Division two of the juvenile event includes Saeed bin Suroor’s Dubawi filly Magic Image making her racecourse debut, as well as the questionably-named fellow newcomer Meghan Sparkle for Clive Cox, but the real headliner of the day is the Nicky Henderson-trained Verdana Blue.
She’s having a busy and highly productive time of things, winning on her belated Flat debut at Chelmsford in September before going back-to-back to claim a Listed Hurdle at Kempton and the Grade Two Elite Hurdle at Wincanton.
The bid for a fine jumping hat-trick came unstuck under a big weight in the Greatwood at Cheltenham but she was anything but disgraced from a mark of 151, which has been nudged up 1lb subsequently with Elite second If The Caps Fits winning at Ascot.
She’s really classy on her day and will now be kept away from the horrible winter turf, instead lining up in the Wild Flower Stakes here.
It’ll be fascinating to see what the Flat assessors make of her when it comes around to next summer, with races such as the £1million Sky Bet Ebor surely factored into long-term plans, even at this stage of proceedings (20/1 with the sponsors at time of writing).