“He looks just the job for the Northumberland Plate and that’s where he will go next,” were the combative words from an owner of Flymetothestars (3.30) after his last run a month ago. And here indeed is the four-year-old, lining up for Newcastle’s famous handicap with a favourite’s chance.
The winner of three of his four races to date, Flymetothestars turned in what was easily a career-best performance over this course and distance when last seen. He pulled two lengths clear of Endless Acres, who boosted the value of that form by running second of 18 behind Thomas Hobson at Royal Ascot, despite having gone up 5lb.
Flymetothestars is himself up 9lb but any horse bred as stoutly as him ought to have more to offer on just the fifth start of his career. He may be only 5-1 but is well placed to give a second Plate success to his jockey Luke Morris, who won it when it was a turf race aboard Juniper Girl a decade ago.
Among the interesting outsiders is My Reward, a 33-1 shot who was well beaten last year as a four-year-old. One year older and stronger and on a slightly lower mark, he was far enough ahead of his stablemates at Tim Easterby’s yard to be winning in April and has presumably been saved for this since.
Tips for Saturday’s other ITV races
1.50 Newcastle Unbeaten in two previous runs here, including this race last year, Amazour met trouble in last Saturday’s Wokingham but travelled well enough to make him interesting in this more winnable heat.
2.05 Newmarket Here is the latest attempt by Midterm to recover the reputation he had 14 months ago, when he was second-favourite for the Derby after landing Sandown’s Classic Trial. This is a step down in grade but he bumps into Second Step, twice a winner above this level, who has shown good form since joining Roger Charlton this year.
2.25 Newcastle A fair second on his reappearance in Ireland, Don’t Touch has an obvious chance now that he returns to six furlongs. He wears a visor for only the second time, having been beaten by The Tin Man, by less than two lengths, in a Group One on the first occasion.
2.40 Newmarket At some stage she needs to settle down and race more professionally but Dance Diva’s two wins so far prove she has ability to go with her exuberance.
3.00 Newcastle The last three furlongs will be uncharted territory for I Am Not Here but he has hinted at reserves of stamina more than once. An easy winner of his only previous race here, he may be able to improve on his modest midweek effort at Carlisle.
3.15 Newmarket The form pick would be Home Of The Brave but this surface might be on the soft side for him. It should be fine for Breton Rock, however, who won this race last year and was not best suited by Haydock last time.
The Irish Derby is not on ITV but is available on At The Races and RTE2:
5.20 Curragh The Criterium de Saint-Cloud rarely proves to be the most significant two-year-old race but last year’s running turns out to have been a good one and its winner, Waldgeist, looks the form pick for this Irish Derby. In that French race in October, he beat no fewer than four of those he will meet here, including the Derby hero, Wings Of Eagles, who could have done without the recent rain. Waldgeist has since been a close second in the French Derby, looking as though this extra distance would help. It may not help Cracksman, who could be on fumes by the finish.