Timeform UK SmartPlays: Monday 1 June

Newcastle finish
Timeform pick out three best bets as UK racing returns on Monday

Timeform pick out their three best bets as UK racing makes a welcome return at Newcastle on Monday...

"...is one to keep on the right side..."

Timeform on Ice Pyramid

Art Power - 14:45 Newcastle

There are some interesting newcomers here, but they will have to be above average to get the better of Art Power, who built on a promising debut at this track last season when winning a five-furlong minor event at York in October. He showed much-improved form to win by five lengths, running to a useful level and still having plenty of running left in him when passing the post. That was on soft ground, and his dam was a real mudlark, but the return to an all-weather surface should pose a problem and Art Power looks an exciting sort. Magical Journey, another lightly-raced sort, looks the obvious danger.

Ice Pyramid - 17:05 Newcastle

Ice Pyramid clearly hasn't been the easiest to train, and he looked a hard ride in his younger days, but Philip Kirby has done an excellent job with this Godolphin cast-off and he looked very progressive on the all-weather earlier in the year. Ice Pyramid won both of his starts over this C&D, each time impressing with the ease in which he travelled through the race and how strong he was at the finish. He looks well suited by this galloping track, and a subsequent 7 lb rise in the weights for his latest success looks lenient, especially given he recorded a fast closing sectional, and Ice Pyramid is one to keep on the right side. The unexposed Alginak, who looks a typical Sir Michael Stoute improver, is feared most.

Byzantine Empire - 18:15 Newcastle

John Gosden knows the family of Byzantine Empire well, having trained his half-brothers Richard Pankhurst and Crazy horse, both of whom were above average. Byzantine Empire shaped with plenty of promise on debut at Kempton in September, finishing second to a potentially smart sort, and it is best to forgive his next start when disappointing at Sandown just 12 days later. Admittedly, he never looked like getting involved after a slow start, but his pedigree/connections plus his starting price that day suggests he is well worth chancing again given the promise he showed on his first start. The step up to a mile and a quarter will also suit. Roger Varian's newcomer Valyrian Steel, who cost €600,000 as a yearling, is one to watch in the market.

Check out Betfair's video guide to Newcastle, in association with Timeform...

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