Hopefully the 10 horses included in Matt Gardner's Placepot permutation at Newcastle today won't encounter any aspiring pugilists, as their police comrade did at the football last week, with a blow to the head likely to inhibit their performance on the track...
"Imjoeking heads the Timeform weight-adjusted ratings and, after just four starts over hurdles, almost certainly has more to offer..."
14:20 - The opening leg looks certain to develop into a battle between Brady and Lord Wishes but, with the latter boasting superior form, we need to select just the one, pretty safe in the knowledge that we shall progress.
14:50 - Connections of Wolf Shield appear to have had their eye on handicaps for some time now and, with the six-year-old finally entering the fold on an opening mark of 110, he strikes as being an ideal starting point here. In the absence of Candelford we are really left to side with either Hurraboru or Forty Crown as a back-up; I'm not keen on the former's attitude so we will take Forty Crown, who did best of those that raced close to a strong pace last time out.
15:20 - Lord of Drums, trained by Lucinda Russell, is the only one in this field that comes here with a good recent effort to his name, when scoring at Hexham earlier this month, so we certainly want him on side in the Placepot. We're also going to take Riskier, who is building himself a reputation as a weak-finisher but has the form in the book to go close here.
15:50 - Lucinda Russell is again the source of our selection in this race but this time it is a banker, the one taken being Imjoeking. The six-year-old heads the Timeform weight-adjusted ratings and, after just four starts over hurdles, almost certainly has more to offer; he was unsuited by how the race developed last time, arguably unlucky not to win, and he can gain some compensation here.
16:20 - The suspicion is that Full Speed has been unsuited by conditions on his last two starts, racing on heavy ground on each occasion, and he is expected to appreciate the return to a sounder surface this afternoon. A fair performer on the Flat, a mark of 107 in this sphere seems fairly lenient, and he could prove that point here. It's also worth sticking in Dun To Perfection, who may ideally need further to be at his best but ought to strip fitter for his outing at Sedgefield last month and he can build upon that now.
16:50 - At present we have three places to aim at, and it would be perfect if it stayed that way, although with a field of 8 there is always the distinct possibility of a non-runner. The pair to side with in the hope of making it across the line, if we have made it this far, are Railway Dillon, who is pretty lazy but should appreciate this return to three miles, and Zitenka, who hasn't shown a great deal of late but is chucked in off a mark of 119 if managing to bounce back.
14:20 - 2
14:50 - 3, 4
15:20 - 3, 5
15:50 - 3
16:20 - 2, 12
16:50 - 3, 4
= 16 lines