Astral Beat debuted encouragingly in a six furlongs dash when fifth (of 16!) at Newmarket and I’ll look no further for the winner of a 14-runner Restricted Novice Stakes over a similar distance on the pristine Newcastle tapeta today, when Callum Shepherd again rides the William Knight-trained Cotai Glory colt.
Given Astral Beat was beaten only less than four lengths, in a class 4 race won by highly-regarded Object, from the bang-in-form Martyn Meade yard and was obviously unfancied, it stands to reason this represents a considerable drop in grade; probability is I’m writing about the favourite.
Considerable improvement can be expected, 12/1 chance Astral Beat was ‘out with the washing’ on the far side, away from the winner, and only once-raced Rosie’s Dream can be advanced as a time-handicap danger from a field containing six newcomers; this greatly reduces opposition because so many trainers are loathe to win first-up due to subsequent placing difficulties under severe penalties. They can’t be underestimated.
Shepherd rode superbly to score on Save A Forest last Saturday and this young man thrives on confidence which he’s got in spades, thanks to a wonderful retainer with veteran multi-millionaire property dealer Bill Gredley.
As mentioned Rosie’s Dream is definitely ‘a runner’ but on actual time-figures Karl Burke’s charge was way inferior to Astral Beat. I’m half a mind to think of a dual forecast!
Rest of an eight-race card is ‘too difficult’ with the obligatory moderate handicaps dominating; this means my focus switches to Kempton polytrack on which there are five races for two-year-olds, my absolute ‘speciality!’
A five-runner Fillies’ Restricted Novice Stakes over five furlongs kicks off a cracking seven-race card and Hayley Turner will again be ‘legged up’ by trainer Phil McBride aboard Silken Petals, unchallenged winner at York ten days ago when remarkably the consistent, hitherto extremely unlucky Pastoral Pursuits juvenile achieved a career-best TH mark at the sixth attempt.
You can’t beat experience and though ‘Queen Mary’ fifth Vertiginous is almost certain to be favourite I’m confident ‘Daily Earner’ will again produce her mount successfully in the closing stages; Silken Petals lost ground when Hayley switched her behind from a moderate draw, but it proved a shrewd tactic.
One line reminder, Final Account, fifth at Thirsk yesterday, is now qualified for nurseries and can do better!
Selections, Kempton, 1.00 Silken Petals (nap); Newcastle, 5.37 Astral Beat (e.w); Windsor, 7.15 Thefastnthecurious (e.w).
Jeffrey Ross, horse-racing correspondent for WMN since 1983 when winning the most prestigious racing journalist award, Sporting Life Naps Table, before winning it a record number of six times collectively in the Racing Post, the current ‘trade’ paper, including 2019