Our race of the day on Thursday comes from Newcastle where the Group 3 Pavilion Stakes at 15:55 takes centre-stage on another bumper ten-race card in the North East.
This fast and furious 6f dash, which is usually held at Ascot, has been won by some big names in the last decade, including Limato in 2015, Blue Point in 2017 and Calyx in 2019.
Malotru and A’Ali are the two names at the head of the market this time around, with the former in the somewhat rare position of having already had a run in 2020.
Marco Botti’s inmate won the Listed Ladbrokes Spring Cup on the all-weather at Lingfield at the back end of February, which should give him a unique fitness advantage over the rest.
A’Ali, however, is the horse that sets the standard after a 2019 which produced victories in a hat-trick of Group 2 contests, including the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Flying Childers at Doncaster.
A subsequent disappointing run in the Breeders’ Cup aside, the Simon & Ed Crisford-trained runner stands out above the rest, although he could be vulnerable to an unexposed type.
Ventura Rebel, who was second to A’Aali in the Norfolk, is next on the list. The way he finished both that day and when fourth in the Weatherbys Super Sprint suggests the extra furlong on offer here should suit.
Richard Fahey’s runner has been off the track injured since then, but with the North Yorkshire-based trainer firing in a winner at Newcastle on both Monday and Tuesday, there’s plenty to like about his chances.
Elsewhere, Troubador faces a tougher task up in class here after landing a couple of Nursery Handicaps and finishing runner-up in the Listed Two-Year-Old Trophy at Redcar in October.
Summer Sands, who was second that day, previously finished ahead of the likes of Mums Tipple and Threat in the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes to further boost the form. That makes Troubador interesting at a price.
Further down the field and Dream Shot is another who’ll need to reverse UK form with A’Ali, although James Tate’s charge does reoppose on more favourable terms than when second in the Champagne Stakes.
Aberama Gold and Ventura Lightening have form with each other on soft ground in the Rockingham Stakes, a comment which also applies to Keep Busy who won a Listed contest at Chantilly on heavy ground.
At a bigger price, Glasvegas has been gelded since coming home a strong fifth in the Windsor Castle last summer. It’ll be interesting to see whether that operation can unlock any further improvement.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication