Saturday Yankee: Champion the wonder horse…

The Daily Yankee

NAP OF THE DAY: Smart Champion, (1535 Newcastle), 2pts win, 8/1:

The Northumberland Plate is one of the highlights of the year as 20 stayers hurtle around Newcastle’s now synthetic track. Proven form here, and proven form in staying handicaps is gold dust, and Smart Champion has both. He was a useful staying 4yo, but now he is a 5yo, this is the age to be getting a progressing stayer. He ran here in February, doing well to overhaul the useful Carnwennan who reopposes here. There may not be too much between them, but Smart Champion may have signalled he is still progressing with a super 4th at Royal Ascot. Nothing really went right there and he was closest at the finish after staying on well up the straight. Provided he gets a bit more luck here he should go very close.

Glen Shiel, (1315 Newcastle), 5/1: we are hoping a handicap run here in the early days of re-opening holds a key to the card. Glen Shiel ran there in a rare effort at this trip, but showed it suits him with a good effort to chase home the useful Mubakker. A subsequent 10th at Royal Ascot was fair enough having had to run against the draw bias there. This could suit ideally.

Mubakker, (1350 Newcastle), 11/4: hopefully will have his course form boosted by Glen Shiel. He was a tidy winner on that reappearance, and that’s 3 from 3 on all weather surfaces as his US breeding would infer. He isn’t the highest rated here, indeed he is rated 11lbs below top rated Brando, but he is on the up against horses who have plateaued. Connections have discussed his entry in the Group 1 July Cup if all goes well here, so they are obviously hopeful of a big run.

Copper Knight, (1425 Newcastle), 7/1: winner of this race in 2018 and second here last year. He is a super consistent sort who unfortunately now gets little love from the handicapper. Still came within a short head of winning at Newmarket on return, and probably had little chance at Doncaster last time. Returns on the same mark as when overhauled by Fool For You late on here last year, and looks sure to go really close again. Last year’s winner looks the biggest danger despite the odds, but the old Knight looks ready to reclaim his glory.

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