Newcastle preview: John Smith’s Northumberland Plate (15.45)
Gabrial’s Star looks to hold leading claims of providing trainer Richard Fahey and owner Dr Marwan Koukash with back-to-back successes in the Northumberland Plate at Newcastle (15.45).
The gelding is one of three Fahey runners in the historic 2m contest, and caught the eye in no uncertain fashion last time out when a desperately unlucky fifth of 17 to Trip To Paris in the Chester Cup.
After being held-up in mid division travelling strongly, Gabrial’s Star encountered all sorts of traffic problems when trying to make a move two furlongs from home.
Jockey Tony Hamilton had to switch out to get a run, and when eventually seeing daylight Gabrial’s Star stayed on powerfully to be gaining all the way to the line and beaten 4 3/4 lengths.
There is little doubt in my mind that Gabrial’s Star would have gone close granted a clear passage, and it was an effort which suggested the son of Hernando was ahead of his mark.
The form of the race has also worked out well with the winner, who Gabrial’s Star met on level terms, having gone on to land the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.
Although Gabrial’s Star finished 1 3/4 lengths and a place behind stable companion Gabrial’s King in the Chester Cup, he now meets that rival on 1lb better terms and that should be enough to reverse the placings given how the race panned out.
Nearly Caught had the aforementioned Gabrial’s King in behind when finishing third last time out at Haydock and rates a big danger.
The Hughie Morrison trained gelding returned to form at the Merseyside venue when beaten just 2 1/2 lengths by Seamour, and now meets Brian Ellison’s charge on 5lb better terms.
That may well be enough to see Nearly Caught turn the tables, especially as the five-year-old has bagged good draw in stall eight compared to Seamour’s nightmare widest draw of all in stall 22.
Another interesting contender who commands plenty of respect given connections is Irish raider Max Dynamite.
The gelding had some useful form to his name in 2013 when trained in France and rated as high as 109, including when eighth of 19 to Intello in the Group 1 Prix du jockey Club at Chantilly.
Now in the care of Willie Mullins, the five-year-old has won once in seven starts over the obstacles and ran a blinder to finish fourth of 24 in the County handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
Max Dynamite now has his first start on the level for Mullins of what looks a workable mark of 104, and represents a yard that does extremely well with it’s runners in flat staying races.
Coral betting tip: Gabrial’s Star should shine brightest, so why not back him and bask in his reflected glory of a Northumberland Plate win?