Talking Horses: Howth can hand Appleby major ‘sand’ prize on a Plate

The success of Big Evs in last season’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint drew something of a line under Mick Appleby’s former status as the “king of the sand”, but the trainer has a fine chance to notch another big win on the all-weather when Howth lines up for the Northumberland Plate Handicap at Newcastle on Saturday.

Sir Mark Prescott’s progressive four-year-old, Trooper Bisdee, is the likely favourite after an easy success at Pontefract last time but he has not raced on an artificial surface since finishing 12th of 14 in a novice event at Kempton in November 2022.

As a result, a price of around 6-1 makes little appeal and the form of the Marathon event over Saturday’s track and trip on All-Weather Finals day in March could prove to be more significant.

Duke Of Oxford, Spartan Army and Howth (3.10) finished second, third and fourth respectively and are closely matched on that form, but while Duke Of Oxford and Spartan Army are drawn in 20 and 18, Howth has fared much better with stall nine.

Appleby’s stable has also hit a rich vein of form after a slight dip in May and at the likely prices, the five-year-old is definitely worth an interest at around 18-1.

Newcastle 1.35 City House relished a return to an artificial surface last time after a couple of sub-par runs on turf, finishing a neck behind a horse who franked the form next time.

Newcastle 2.04 Kinross is the class act in this field but could be vulnerable first time up at six furlongs and Spycatcher, who was beaten a neck in this race 12 months ago, could take advantage.

Newmarket 2.15 Several promising and lightly-raced fillies line up for this Listed contest and the fact that Oisin Murphy is aboard Rod Millman’s Santa Savana could be significant given his excellent record for the yard.

Newcastle 2.35 Having won the consolation race for horses balloted out of the Chester Cup in May, Alphonse Le Grand has an obvious chance to complete an unusual double in the equivalent event for the Northumberland Plate.

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Newcastle 1.35 City House (nb) 2.04 Spycatcher 2.35 3.10 Howth (nap) 3.40 United Approach 4.15 Ardennes 4.50 Sea Legend 5.25 Soowaih

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Newmarket 1.40 Beronia 2.15 Santa Savana 2.50 Crystal Delight 3.25 Noble Dynasty 4.00 Queen’s Reign 4.35 Candle Of Dubai 5.10 Mafnood

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Windsor 2.10 Standbackandlook 2.42 Sands Of Marra 3.17 New Chelsea 3.52 Aiming High 4.25 Northcliff 5.00 Glimpse The Moon 5.32 Brian The Snail

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Chester 1.50 Sensorium 2.25 Bur Dubai 3.00 Radio Goo Goo 3.35 Jungle Mac 4.10 Clan Chieftain 4.45 Bobby Bennu 5.20 Loughville

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Doncaster 5.50 Champagne Sarah 6.25 Musical Touch 7.00 Signcastle City 7.30 Timefall 8.00 Indivar 8.30 Atlantis Blue 9.00 War Chant

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Lingfield 5.40 Beach Point 6.10 Knight Templar 6.45 On The Right Track 7.15 Baileys Jubilation 7.45 Mc Loven 8.15 Mbappe 8.45 Little Miss Magic

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Quick Guide

Greg Wood’s Saturday tips

Show

Newcastle 1.35 City House (nb) 2.04 Spycatcher 2.35 3.10 Howth (nap) 3.40 United Approach 4.15 Ardennes 4.50 Sea Legend 5.25 Soowaih

Newmarket 1.40 Beronia 2.15 Santa Savana 2.50 Crystal Delight 3.25 Noble Dynasty 4.00 Queen’s Reign 4.35 Candle Of Dubai 5.10 Mafnood

                                                                                      

Windsor 2.10 Standbackandlook 2.42 Sands Of Marra 3.17 New Chelsea 3.52 Aiming High 4.25 Northcliff 5.00 Glimpse The Moon 5.32 Brian The Snail

Chester 1.50 Sensorium 2.25 Bur Dubai 3.00 Radio Goo Goo 3.35 Jungle Mac 4.10 Clan Chieftain 4.45 Bobby Bennu 5.20 Loughville

Doncaster 5.50 Champagne Sarah 6.25 Musical Touch 7.00 Signcastle City 7.30 Timefall 8.00 Indivar 8.30 Atlantis Blue 9.00 War Chant

Lingfield 5.40 Beach Point 6.10 Knight Templar 6.45 On The Right Track 7.15 Baileys Jubilation 7.45 Mc Loven 8.15 Mbappe 8.45 Little Miss Magic

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Newmarket 2.50 Crystal Delight looks ready for this step up to Listed company after an emphatic handicap success last time.

Newmarket 3.25 Charlie Appleby’s Noble Dynasty beat English Oak, a subsequent Royal Ascot winner, off 105 last time and this Group Three should be run to suit.

Newcastle 3.40 Lightly raced United Approach has more scope for progress than most of his rivals and has been dropped 2lb since a promising return to action at Newbury in May.

The Guardian