The pick of the handicap prices at Newcastle tomorrow....

Last Updated: 24.06.2016

24th June 2016

Good afternoon, friends,

In today’s ATC Extra bulletin….

  • The pick of the prices in the Northumberland Vase (3.40 Newcastle)….
  • I’m two-against-the-field in the Northumberland Plate….
  • The value in the Betfred TV Handicap (3.05 Newcastle)….

The pick of the prices in the Northumberland Vase….

A bit of a change this weekend in that I’m targeting two races and a single horse in each.

First up is the Northumberland Vase (3.40 Newcastle) – the consolation race for the Northumberland Plate – and the one I fancy to run a big race at a double-figure price is POYLE THOMAS at 11s with William Hill.

This horse had problems with his tendons – and that’s why we’ve only seen him on the race track once since the mid-summer of 2014 – but his return to action at Newmarket last month was a run full of promise and suggests he can reward connections for their patience.

He ran on well that day over 14f and might well have won had he not reared at the start. He is entitled to come on for the blow and he will certainly appreciate the step back up to 2 miles – a trip he has already proven he stays.

He’s 7yo but is still very lightly raced – with just 10 runs to his name – and he remains unexposed and progressive.

Trainer Ralph Beckett has always hoped he would develop into a Northumberland Plate horse. He hasn’t managed to get into that race but this is probably the next best thing and an opportunity to go up the handicap scale and break into the bigger leagues of the staying division going forward.

Fran Berry taking over in the saddle is a plus and suggests this race has been earmarked as a serious target. The 10s is a fair enough price.

We’ll get to my selections for the Betfred TV Handicap in a moment. First a quick spin through my gameplan in the Northumberland Plate….

I’m two-against-the-field in the Plate….

Over on my paid Against the Crowd service I’ve set my sights on tomorrow’s big handicap the Northumberland Plate up at Newcastle….

  • It’s the first time the stamina test over the 2-mile trip has been run on the all-weather – with Newcastle having recently converted from turf to a synthetic surface….
  • That change hasn’t dented take-up for the race which carries a prize-fund of £150k – with winning connections carting off £90k+. A field of 20 will go to post….
  • Roger Varian’s Steve Rogers was a beaten favourite last-time-out in the Chester Cup – but the market fancy him to redeem himself and he tops the market at 6s….
  • Value is the name of my game and I’m backing two-against-the field at generous each-way prices….

If you’re looking for a couple more bets for tomorrow afternoon you can access those picks free of charge right now by taking a FREE test-drive of my Against the Crowd service….

Access my value-picks for tomorrow’s big handicap here….


In the Betfred TV Handicap (3.05 Newcastle)….

MERDON CASTLE has had his problems. In April last year he was considered good enough to contest a G3 at Ascot. He wasn’t fancied and he got well-beaten on the day but it said something about the horse and the regard he was held in that connections sent him there. They clearly thought he wouldn’t disgrace himself.

After that it was all downhill and in 4 subsequent runs on turf last term he performed like a horse with problems. He was restless in the stalls and failed to get away well on a couple of occasions. In each of his 4 efforts he was well beaten.

Connections cried enough. He was sent to the sales and he is now in the care of Ruth Carr. She’s got her own way of doing things and a number of problem horses have benefitted and improved for the regime up in North Yorkshire.

Merdon Castle has his first run for Carr tomorrow in the Betfred TV Handicap (Newcastle 3.05) and at a general 33s he is well worth-chancing to bounce back to form first-time-up on the all-weather.

The 4yo was always a different proposition on the AW than he was on turf. He failed to break his duck on turf despite 7 attempts. But on the AW he’s produced form figures that read 12123.

That last effort came at last season’s All-Weather Championship meeting on Good Friday at Lingfield. He chased home two horses that got first run on him on the day. It is worth noting that those horses have subsequently progressed to respective marks of 108 and 101.

Merdon Castle runs off the same mark tomorrow as he did that day – 97 – and I reckon that’s a mark he is capable of winning off.

Of course, there is no guarantee that he has retained his ability or, if he has, that he will produce the goods first time up. But he will certainly be a different horse having been with Carr for a few months and at 33s he doesn’t have to win. At the price I’d be happy enough if he placed.

I reckon he could be priced up on his more recent lack-lustre efforts on turf. He’s better than that – much better – on a synthetic surface. And he gets that tomorrow. It gives him every chance of out-running his ‘rag’ status.

How I’ll be playing….

Remember, we don’t have to be betting in hundreds to make the game worthwhile or fun. A spend of a few quid is plenty to be going on with….

In the Northumberland Vase (3.40 Newcastle)….

In the Betfred TV Handicap (3.05 Newcastle)….

  • MERDON CASTLE @ 33s (Generally)  

Note: I would certainly encourage you to back Merdon Castle each way. The terms are 1/4 1-2-3. Poyle Thomas is shorter in price. If each-way at 11s is your bag, then don’t let me hold you back. But it’s your call….


That’s all from me this week. Enjoy your weekend.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd Extra

P.S. Olly Upstone’s Euro 2016 service is having a cracking time of it. I was with him on Tuesday night to watch Croatia beat Spain – where he landed a 14/1 winner for followers. He’s 11 points up going into the knockout stage. There’s more to come. Get onboard for the remainder of the tournament for just a tenner. Join Olly here….