Newbury preview: Class-dropping Dutch Uncle weighted to deliver
Dutch Uncle has some strong form in the book, and can take advantage of a drop in class to get back to winning ways in the 1m 2f handicap on today’s card at Newbury (16.45).
The Ed Dunlop trained colt improved with each of his four starts in maidens, finishing a three length runner-up to subsequent Irish Derby winner Jack Hobbs at Wolverhampton before opening his account in good style when running on strongly to beat Honourable Action by 2 1/4 lengths at the same venue.
Dutch Uncle was then off the track for 102 days before running a blinder on his handicap debut to finish a neck second at Doncaster.
The three-year-old backed that up with a cracking 3 3/4 length third of 13 to Time Test in the ultra-competitive class 2 London Gold Cup over course and distance off a mark of 81, travelling strongly and leading at the two marker before being headed inside the last and unable to find any extra.
Time Test has since gone on to bolt-up in the Group 3 Tercentenary Stakes at Royal Ascot and is now rated 116, and the form reads extremely well in the context of this contest.
Dutch Uncle then ran well to finish fourth in another class 2 contest at Epsom before running below par when well-beaten in the King George V Stakes at Royal Ascot last time out.
However, the handicapper has since dropped Dutch Uncle 1lb to a mark of 83 and that makes him look well-treated on his run behind Time Test now dropped down into class 3 company.
In the 6f Listed contest for two year olds (15.40), Opal Tiara looks the one to beat following an excellent run at Royal Ascot.
The Mick Channon trained filly scored in good style on her debut at Wolverhampton and then found only the smart Easton Angel too good when a one length runner-up in the Hilary Needler Trophy at Beverley.
Opal Tiara then posted a career-best effort at the Royal meeting when seventh of 27 to Washington DC in the Windsor Castle Stakes.
Although beaten six lengths, the daughter of Thousand Words ran far better than that suggests as she was unfavourably drawn in stall 24 and led home the group on the stands side.
That is the strongest form on offer in this line-up, and a repeat is going to make Opal Tiara very hard to beat.
14.30: Rio’s Cliffs
15.05: Bella Nouf
15.40: Opal Tiara (NB)
16.15: Cricklewood Green
16.45: Dutch Uncle (NAP)
17.15: Joe Packet