15:10 Newcastle Wed 19 February 2020
- Bombardier British Hopped Amber Beer Handicap (Class 2)
- 7f 14y,
- 14 Runners
- Surface: Allweather
6f soft ground Group 1 winner (Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes) at Ascot in October 2017; well shy of such form on the AW in more recent times; plenty to do off top-weight but mildly interesting to see how he fares back on a straight track.
A fine servant to Richard Hannon (13-55) over a number of years, enjoying AW Championships Finals Day success at Lingfield last April (took the 1m conditions stakes from the French raider Indyco); a 7½f Chester winner on his last handicap start.
Healthy AW strike-rate (4-8, 50%); very well backed 13-8f when successful in this race 12 months ago (beat Gallipoli by ¾L); 2lb higher and possibly doesn't arrive in quite the same form on this occasion; first competitive start for 83 days.
Finished fourth of 20 (beaten 4L) in the Cl 2 Balmoral Handicap at Ascot (1m, heavy) in October 2019; always handy when scoring readily in a Cl 3 C&D handicap six weeks ago (beat Rathbone); 4lb higher; Ben Curtis booked to ride.
Ex-Owen Burrows; prominent-racer; struck on his first two starts for Michael Appleby (1m, Kempton) and has largely held/bettered that form since; finished last of five to Dubai Warrior in the Listed Quebec Stakes at Lingfield (1m2f) two months ago.
C&D form figures read 125 (Cl 2 handicaps); rated 2lb lower than when beating Gallipoli by ½L in this race in 2018; held on in a most determined manner in a 6f Kempton conditions stakes latest (form franked since by Harry's Bar); solid credentials.
Former French-racer; in fine fettle for David O'Meara this winter, including when a decisive Cl 3 winner at Wolverhampton (7f) a fortnight ago; 4lb higher (fair) in a more competitive race; risky approach taken if dismissed lightly.
Proved to be no match for Glen Shiel in Cl 3 C&D handicap six weeks ago and it would be a surprise if he can reverse those placings on 3lb better terms (for 1¼L); has done the bulk of his racing over 6f.
Nearest at the finish when under 2L fourth to Keyser Soze in this race last year (same terms if factoring in the 5lb claim of Angus Villiers); was eased late on (pulled-up and dismounted) at Lingfield on New Year's Eve.
Lightly raced (2-4 on the AW); was making just his second handicap appearance when keeping on from a tardy start to finish second to Above The Rest (Straight Right fifth) over C&D in mid-December; of obvious interest in first-time blinkers.
Consistent performer (over 6f); was given a beautiful ride by Hayley Turner when a snug head winner of a Cl 4 handicap here four weeks ago - form rock-solid for the grade (Athollblair Boy fourth); stablemate of Papa Stour (carries same silks).
Short of experience in competitive handicaps (& over 7f); eye-catcher when repeatedly denied a clear run behind Glen Shiel and Rathbone (finished 2¾L fourth) over C&D six weeks ago; must step forward, albeit it'll come as no surprise if he does so.
Won for the fifth time at Newcastle (6f x4, 7f x1) when showing a smart turn of foot inside the final furlong to shoot clear of Glenamoy Lad eight days ago; has built a strong rapport with Faye McManoman; raised in grade under a 4lb penalty.
Runner-up over 1m here (Cl 5) on his penultimate start; denied a suitable opportunity by failing floodlights here thereafter before easily making amends at Chelmsford (1m) a few weeks later; is facing a much sterner test; stablemate of Hart Stopper.
Last Year's Winner
|T: Richard SpencerJ: A Kirby|
Glen Shiel (7/2), Baronial Pride (4/1), Keyser Soze (9/2), Straight Right (5/1), Young Fire (10/1), Papa Stour (11/1), Aljari (11/1), Librisa Breeze (12/1), Oh This Is Us (12/1), Athollblair Boy (12/1), Kasbaan (14/1), Hart Stopper (16/1), Rathbone (22/1), Sanaadh (22/1)
- Straight Right
- Oh This Is Us