Sunday 25 October 2020

5:00 Newcastle - 26th October 2020

An interesting early evening race at the home of the Northumberland Plate. You could be thinking you're having a laugh. It's a nine runner affair with three grand prize money! I can’t argue with that, to be honest, but what’s interesting is we see two Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum newcomers go head-to-head here and both are well-regarded plus a few decent looking newcomers and a Gosden colt who brings good form to the table. What more can we ask for? Let's look closer at a few of the main challengers. 

The final lot of the opening day of the October 2019 Tattersalls sales book 1 saw Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum get the cheque book out and write a cool 1,000,000 guineas and purchase a lovely looking son of Dubawi. The horse in question is MANASSAS who comes with big boots to fill. This bay colt born on May 22nd 2018, is a son of Dubawi, out of unraced mare Without You Babe. Manassas has a lot to live up to being a half-brother to a few exceptional performers in the family already. 

The Frankel John Gosden colt Without Patrol is one offspring who has raced at the highest level throughout his career winning the St James's Palace Stakes as a 3-year-old and since moved to America with Chad Brown and is running as good as ever finishing third in the Group 1 Turf Mile at Keeneland this month. Won on debut at Newcastle as a 2-year-old.

Another Without You Babe offspring is She’s Got You who hasn’t quite hit the heights of Without Patrol but was placed in pattern races last year and will also be running future races in America with Chad Brown. The future is bright for Manassas but will this be a learning experience or will he know his job straight away, with Atzeni choosing Manassas over the other Sheikh runner that’s a positive for me. 

The other Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum runner also comes with a nice home reputation after being entered in a couple of decent looking races but not running. MOVIN TIME is a bay colt who was born 29th April 2018 and was bought for 170,000 guineas and is trained by Roger Varian. The Fastnet colt is a half-brother to another Roger Varian filly Mot Juste who was no slouch herself winning the Group 3 Oh So Sharp Stakes at Goodwood as a 2-year-old. Another useful looking colt who should be noted for the future. 

REBEL'S ROMANCE is a son of Dubawi out of mare Minidress who only ran four times coming fourth in the Oh So Sharp Stakes. Offspring include the Frankel Saeed bin Suroor filly Dubai Beauty who didn’t quite hit the heights that were expected after a promising debut win at Newmarket in 2018. Charlie Appleby has only had a handful of 2-year-old runners here - one was Moonlight Spirit who made a winning debut back in November 2018 - he went on to race at a high level. I'm pretty sure Rebel’s Romance will know his job here. 

MERITORIOUS for the John Gosden yard brings decent form to this already fascinating race. The Make Believe bay colt was born 13th February 2018 and was purchased for 65,000 guineas. The first foal of mare Make Merry. Meritorious made his debut in a hot maiden at Newmarket back in July when never involved, next time out the Gosden colt took a big step in the right direction when finishing second to the Appleby trained Mystical Dawn with the O’Brien trained Bolshoi Ballet back in third (won next timeout). Should be bang in the mix again here and as we all know John Gosden has a great strike rate here at Newcastle. 

Just time for a couple of words about the TIO MIO trained by Archie Watson, before I slip into the land of nod. Watson had a pretty good strike rate here last year and the owner Mr Arjun Waney does interest me. Archie is known for his debut winners but has been a bit slacking this year for whatever reason. One to watch unless seriously backed. 

Conclusion: Bloody tough race that’s my conclusion, but seriously the Gosden likely favourite has experience on his side here but these newcomers could be decent. I will take a watching brief but hope MANASSAS can run a promising debut. Thanks for reading and stay safe.

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