Horse racing selections for Thursday: Newcastle success written in Stars for Kirby
Stargazer can put the record straight with victory in the Play 4Toscore At Betway Handicap at Newcastle.
Trained by Phil Kirby, the former Sir Michael Stoute inmate got his head in front on the Tapeta track here in March, when passing the post first in a valuable handicap - only for the stewards to intervene.
The five-year-old drifting to his left was ruled by the local officials to have been enough to deny Island Brave victory in race decided by a nose.
Whether that was the right call can be debated, because a loose horse made things difficult for rider Kevin Stott - who was himself momentarily hampered and but for which the feeling is he would have been a clear winner.
That run came on the back of Stargazer’s most promising first run for Kirby when second here over two and a bit miles - and while three outings on turf since have not gone as might have been hoped, he ought to be cherry ripe for what is another decent prize.
First place of just over £16,000 will not completely ease the pain of that contest earlier in the year - which was worth just shy of £55,000 to the winner - but it will not go amiss.
Helping his cause is the fact he is back to the same mark of 95, and he is a horse who clearly likes it around Gosforth Park.
He does not have many miles on the clock for a horse of his age, either.
It would be folly to side against Big Kitten on his return to Tyneside for the Betway Handicap.
The three-year-old has some excellent all-weather form - including when beaten just over four lengths in second at Chelmsford behind Gronkowski, who went on to finish second to Triple Crown hero Justify in the Belmont Stakes in America.
That effort sandwiched two Newcastle runs, a second and a victory, before he left Mark Johnston for William Haggas.
He was last seen at Doncaster at the end of October having his first outing for Haggas, coming off a break of 227 days and running a bit better than his final placing would suggest.
With that under his belt and back on a surface he enjoys, a big effort is expected.
Orion’s Bow is another who operates well at Newcastle and should do so again in the Betway Sprint Handicap.
Tim Easterby’s gelding has not won for a while, coming down plenty in the weights as a result. But there have been one or two good efforts along the way - and he has only been out of the places once in five starts here, winning twice.
Over jumps at Market Rasen, Lucinda Russell has Ryalex ready to go again in the FMCG Executive Network Handicap Chase after his Carlisle romp 10 days ago.
The seven-year-old carries a 7lb penalty, but such was the ease of his belated first victory under rules it is hard to believe he will not be able to defy that and plenty more in future.
There is a decent card over at Thurles, where Jessica Harrington’s Alletrix has sound prospects of making a winning start over fences in the Go Racing At Thurles Mares Beginners Chase.
The five-year-old won a valuable Leopardstown handicap hurdle last season, and twice finished runner-up to the mighty Laurina. There is nothing approaching that calibre to take her on here.
Monksland catches the eye in the Boomerang Animal Bedding And Boomerang Horse & Country Store Chase.
Noel Meade’s lightly-raced 11-year-old is back from a 13-month break, and over fences for the first time since November 2016.
He has kept very good company over hurdles in the interim, and often goes especially well fresh.
MARKET RASEN: 12.25 The Big Bite, 12.55 Keep The River, 1.25 Jersey Bean, 2.00 Lisdoonvarna Lad, 2.35 Ryalex, 3.05 Hope’s Wishes, 3.40 I’m Wiser Now.
NEWCASTLE: 1.20 STARGAZER (NAP), 1.55 Echo, 2.25 Call Me Madam, 2.55 Jalmoud, 3.30 Big Kitten, 4.05 Sunset Flash, 4.35 Orion’s Bow, 5.05 Rocket Action.
THURLES: 12.35 Alletrix, 1.05 Monksland, 1.35 Thermistocles, 2.05 Rapid Response, 2.40 Cold Shoulder, 3.10 Pegi Browne, 3.45 Super Follo.
WINCANTON: 12.45 Dream Free, 1.15 Eragon De Chanay, 1.45 Divin Bere, 2.15 Emitom, 2.45 Chilli Romance, 3.20 Clondaw Rigger, 3.55 Roccowithlove.
WOLVERHAMPTON: 5.30 Swansdown, 6.00 Elenora Delight, 6.30 Isaan Queen, 7.00 Walk On Walter, 7.30 Stewardess, 8.00 Laieth, 8.30 Staffa, 9.00 Loud And Clear.