"I have a feeling he is well handicapped."
The NAP Tafreej has the right set-up at Ascot to score
Keep the faith with Man Of Eden
This is not the grade of race I like to get involved in, but it is one where plenty arrives with something to prove, so forgiveness has to be to the fore.
That's the case with Burning The Bails - 16/117.00 on the Betfair Sportsbook - who has put in two no-shows on soft ground at Ayr and Hamilton in two starts for his new yard, but they both came in competitive Class 4 events.
This Class 5 contest is a far cry away from the depths of those runnings, and the drop in grade and return to the all-weather could be reasons to see him back on track, particularly here at this Newcastle venue.
He shaped very well in some strong (in the context of this race) Novice and Maiden races at the back end of last year and earlier this term when racing three times on the all-weather.
His debut as a two-year-old saw him third of 13 to Think Climate (85) at Southwell under tender handling. At the same venue next time, he was beaten less than two lengths by Berkshire Phantom, who had reached a peak rating earlier this year of 85.
However, his run here at Newcastle makes him of interest today. He was held up at the rear of a Class 4 Novice field in a race that failed to record a top speed figure because it was so slowly run (more than six seconds outside standard). He steamed home from off the pace, passing nearly all runners other than winner Onight (92) and runner-up Sure Spirit (rated 71 but is a Sir Mark Prescott horse that's yet to make a handicap debut), who had both dictated the run of the race. It was eye-popping.
It's worth mentioning that in July, he chased home Alexander James at Beverley on good ground in a selling event (2nd) and that horse had some very strong form to his name.
In the hope that the cause of his poor runs the last twice was down to the ground and the return to the all-weather sparks him back to life, he looks worth chancing.
Ben Curtis is an eye-catching booking, finishing in the first four on seven of his 20 rides for this yard, and I have a feeling this is a very well-handicapped horse.
Back him at 8/18.80 or bigger.
Tafreej - 7/42.70 on the Betfair Sportsbook - has disappointed us the last twice, but I am not ready to give up on him just yet, having done tremendously well at York to come from a mile off the pace to chase home a well-handicapped runner who was well positioned.
Tom Marquand gave the selection plenty to do on a day when very few were coming back to the field, but this race, in particular, was run at a stop-start gallop that didn't suit his racing position.
His effort petered out a little at the finish at York, so the move back to seven furlongs today is a positive one and given the way he weaved in and out of runners to make his challenge, he confirmed that he is well ahead of the handicapper off of this rating of 90.
Today's race represents a drop in grade into Class 3 company - the same grade which saw him bolt up for us at Yarmouth two starts back, and the likely fast ground is a big positive.
He had his excuses the last twice and was a big eye-catcher at Chester behind Saxon King when continuously denied a clear run through runners.
He is certainly not done improving yet, and while his draw in stall one could prove tricky, it will at least ensure Jim Crowley has options once dropping in.
The pace angles include Caragio, Glenfinnan and Saxon King, so he should get a good clip to aim at, and a stiff seven furlongs is probably his optimum distance on balance.
He ticks all the boxes, and Jim Crowley in the saddle is another positive. He makes stacks of appeal at 7/42.70 or bigger and rates a confident Friday selection.
Man Of Eden - 4/14.80 on the Betfair Sportsbook - keeps leaving punters frustrated, including last time at Windsor when he found himself troubled in the run, but there's little doubt if there is one ahead of the handicapper in this field, then it's him.
His finishing effort at Windsor in the Racing League suggested he is ready to strike, and on his earlier form at Goodwood, Haydock and Newmarket since fitted with blinkers, also concur with the theory that he has a victory in him off of this rating.
He is worth another chance on a more conventional track where he will have more room to operate. Major Partnership is a solid rival despite being rated through the roof, while Aerion Power and Ouzo tie in closely from the Royal Hunt Cup. Bluelight Bay gives the selection the most to think about.