Racing will resume behind closed doors at Newcastle on Monday after the Government gave its permission for competitive sport in Britain to restart from June 1.
The last meeting to take place in the country happened on March 17, when racing, along with all other sports, was forced to halt due to coronavirus.
Newcastle’s opening meeting will be a 10-race card, beginning at 1.00pm, with the last event at 6.15pm and races will be restricted to 12 runners.
Both Newcastle and Kempton will race on June 2, followed by Kempton and Yarmouth on June 3 and Newcastle and Newmarket on June 4.
So ahead of this much anticipated day of racing, we’ve previewed every race of the fixture.
13:00 Betway Welcome Back British Racing Handicap
1m 5y (Class 6) 4yo+
Course and distance winner Al Ozzidi has to be respected from those with plenty of experience, but he could be in the grip of the handicapper now and is vulnerable to any potential improvers.
A couple that fit the profile are Stone Mason and Heavenly Tale. The former is making his stable debut for the Mick Appleby and this lightly raced gelding is open to plenty of improvement for a yard who has an excellent record with these types.
He has however been well found in the market and at bigger odds Heavenly Tale makes more appeal. This well-bred Sharmadal filly makes her handicap debut off what looks to be a fair rating based on her debut run at Lingfield.
This is her first start with the yard and her trainer is another to do well with improving horses from other stables. The booking of Phil Dennis is another positive suggesting a good showing is expected (5 wins from 10 rides for the yard).
Selection: Heavenly Tale
13:35 Betway Heed Your Hunch Handicap
1m 5y (Class 4) 4yo+
Things look to have clicked for the Roger Varian trained Mutasaamy since switching to handicaps and this lightly raced 4-year-old looks open to bags of improvement still and has the potential to be very well handicapped still from a mark of 78.
Geizy Teizy put in a disappointing effort finishing last of 7 here when last seen but the break could have done this filly good and she has form figures of 1-2 when returning after a lay off previously.
She is proven under conditions and both trainer Marco Botti and Ben Curtis both and Jockey Ben Curtis both have good records at Newcastle.
Selection: Geizy Teizy
14:10 Betway Novice Stakes (Div 1)
6f (Class 5) 3yo+
An interesting novice stakes with a mixture of nicely bred newcomers taking on a couple who posted solid efforts last season. One of which Bond`s Boy is taken to come out victorious today.
The Richard Fahey trained runner put in a solid effort in a Newmarket sales race when last seen in October. That form looks solid and with normal improvement he should be able to take a race of this nature.
His stable normally start the season well so he is expected to be fully tuned up after a break.
Selection: Bond`s Boy
14:45 Betway Novice Stakes (Div 2)
6f (Class 5) 3yo+
Unless one of the newcomers is very much above average this looks a likely match between Art Power and Magical Journey. The former was a ready winner at York when last seen and is well regarded by connections he however could be slightly more of a long-term project and has to give 5lbs to his main market rival.
The filly Magical Journey made a winning debut at Beverly before ending her season with a solid 2nd place finish in a large field listed event at Newmarket.
That form with the allowance should be enough to give her the edge and it`s also worth noting trainer James Tate has a healthy 21% strike rate with horses returning after a couple of months away from the track.
Selection: Magical Journey (NB)
15:20 Heed Your Hunch At Betway Handicap
6f (Class 4) 4yo+ Paying 1 extra place 1/5 1-2-3-4
An open looking handicap with plenty looking to have good claims on there best form. Yousini put in some really solid efforts in much stronger handicaps than this last season from ratings in the mid 90s.
His form did drop away towards the end of the year but that has resulted in his mark slipping to 83 now and it looks a rating his shrewd yard can be capitalising upon.
He has to prove himself on the A/W but his run style should be suited to the way races are normally run and there looks no obvious reason why he should not go well.
Selection: Yousini (NAP)
15:55 Betway Casino Handicap
6f (Class 5) 3yo Paying 1 extra place 1/5 1-2-3-4
Another wide-open event with some potentially interesting, lightly raced 3-year olds taking each other on. Rock Of Diamonds makes the trip up from Newmarket for trainer Simon Crisford who has an excellent 27% strike rate with his handicap debutants.
He showed promise on 2 starts over 7f last previously and the drop back to 6f around the stiffer course looks a sensible move based on what we have seen so far.
With Silverstre De Sousa booked he won’t be lacking anything from the saddle and he is expected to go close.
Selection: Rock Of Diamonds
16:30 betyourway At Betway Handicap
5f (Class 5) 4yo+ Paying 1 extra place 1/5 1-2-3-4
Dual course and distance winner Be Proud has to be respected efforts but both those wins came in class 6 events and he is 5lb above his highest winning mark.
Indian Sounds ran well enough in a couple of handicaps here over 6f before the break in racing.
He will need to show a bit more again today to take this but the drop in trip looks an interesting move and the jockey booking of Oisin Murphy takes the eye who could deliver him late on to pounce here.
Selection: Indian Sounds
17:05 Betway Handicap
1m 4f 98y (Class 3) 4yo+ Paying 1 extra place 1/5 1-2-3-4
A couple of interesting runners here from the powerful yards of Sir Michael Stoute and John Gosden. Both look to have improvement in them but preference on this occasion is for the Gosden trained Good Tidings.
He needs to bounce back from a very poor effort at Chelmsford last time out but his 2 starts at Kempton previously were strong efforts and a recent gelding operation since then may bring out more improvement for this previous course and Distance winner.
Selection: Good Tidings
17:40 Betway Maiden Stakes (Div 1)
1m 2f 42y (Class 5) 3yo+
Again, this looks a match up between the 2 runners from the Newmarket yards of Stoute and Gosden and a similar result is expected.
Thibaan kept on nicely on debut at Kempton on his only start last season and should have no problems picking up a similar event to this in time however Frankly Darling receives a handy filly’s allowance and this should give the well-bred Frankel filly the edge.
Selection: Frankly Darling
18:15 Betway Maiden Stakes (Div 2)
1m 2f 42y (Class 5) 3yo+
Division 2 of the maiden looks to have a more open feel to it but it`s another Frankel offspring who catches the eye here. The Roger Varian trained Valyrian Steel makes his debut here and it will be disappointing if this well-related type won’t have the ability to win at least a maiden in time.
His trainer does well with his runners at the course including a 22% strike rate with his non-handicap runners. Wise Glory put in a good effort on his only start as 2-year-old last summer and looks the type to improve for middle distances this season.
With that experience under his belt the Simon Crisford trained runner is marginally preferred on this occasion.
Selection: Wise Glory
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