Thursday Races: Bert on the dirt…

If you back enough horses, and we surely do, the back catalogue can frequently return to haunt.  Yesterday’s selection’s modest performance was made all the more unpalatable by the win in the same race of 33/1 Becky The Thatcher, a winner for this blog when last over hurdles in March.

Just before that we also watched Definately Vinnie, 3rd for this blog a couple of weeks ago, win at Hereford at 25/1.  That’s a one-two to damage the psyche of the strongest punters.

Well we have to respond the only way we know how – by a knee-jerk reaction and picking a blog regular and nigh-on Lap Of The Odds household pet, Bertiewhittle.

Old Bertie had been in great form all Summer registering one good win and excellent placed efforts at Ascot and in big fields recently at Newmarket and Doncaster.

Youngster Gabriele Malune has been in the saddle for those last two fast finishing thirds and that is hopefully valuable experience gained.

The challenges here are twofold. Firstly Bertie takes to the all weather for a rare appearance, he has run some decent races in the distant past on similar surfaces so he should handle it well enough, he gets a handy 5lb reduction on his turf rating.

More tricky is the drop to 6f.  He has rarely appeared at this trip, racing almost exclusively at 7f.  That said, one of his rare AW runs was a pretty good staying on effort over 6f at Wolverhampton 2 years go.

This Newcastle track rides like a stiff 6f, often into a headwind and although Bertie will be challenged for early speed, he should be finishing better than anything.

So can young Gabriele time it right this time? We think he can.

Recommendation:  Bertiewhittle, 1945 Newcastle, 1pt win, 11/1 widely available 

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