Royal Normandy signed off 2015 on a winning note and can pick up where he left off this year in the Racing UK 3 Devices 1 Price Handicap at Kempton.
Andrew Balding appears to have found the key to this four-year-old after opting to drop back to six furlongs last month, having tried his luck at seven furlongs throughout the summer.
The Royal Applause gelding proved pretty keen on more than one occasion and, despite winning once over that trip, was often found wanting when push came to shove in the final furlong.
Switched back to six furlongs at Kempton before Christmas, Royal Normandy once again found his winning stride as he saw off Head Space by a neck in a competitive little heat.
The application of blinkers combined with six furlongs clearly brought out the best in him, with his rider able to tuck in early on before coming with a telling late charge.
Now that Royal Normandy has shown his aptitude for this trip, Balding can make hay.
Exalted let down favourite-backers last time out but is worth another chance in the Racing UK Winter Season Ticket Handicap. Winless in three maiden starts, he had one sighter in handicap company before he went on to score his first success at this track last month.
William Knight duly returned to this course and distance last week but Exalted probably put in far too much effort through the early stages and that factor told as he faded into fourth in the final of eight furlongs.
Making a swift reappearance here, Exalted looks capable of getting back on the right track as long as his early enthusiasm can be contained.
La Manga hit the bar at Wolverhampton on Friday but can make a swift reappearance pay dividends in the racinguk.com/winterseasonticket Handicap. Jamie Osborne’s charge posted a career-best effort when tried in handicap company for the first time after three fruitless maiden efforts. She raced from an unfavourably wide position but still finished with a flourish to be beaten just under two lengths in second. Osborne is obviously keen to capitalise on both her current well-being and lowly mark of 56.
War Glory has been the subject of some promising gallops reports of late and can strike gold for Richard Hannon in the 32Red.com Maiden Stakes at Wolverhampton.
The Canford Cliffs colt hails from a winning family and showed plenty of promise when second on his racecourse bow before Christmas. He was beaten just a length and a quarter by a more experienced rival and can surely kick on from that here.
The William Haggas-trained Effusive is an obvious candidate for the 32Red Casino Fillies’ Handicap.
Owned and bred by Cheveley Park Stud, the daughter of Starspangledbanner has been largely disappointing since making a winning debut at Carlisle, but came good when winning with a degree of comfort at Dunstall Park last week. She makes a swift return to the track under a penalty and must have every chance of following up.
l Wednesday’s meeting at Newcastle is subject to a noon inspection today.
Gosforth Park has been hit by heavy rain during the week and more is forecast for the coming days.
With the track already waterlogged, prospects appear bleak and officials will assess the situation at the start of the week.
2:00 Flighty Filia
2:30 Playful Dude
3:05 La Manga
4:10 Royal Normandy
4:40 Arizona Snow
12:45 Sewn Up
1:15 War Glory (nap)
2:20 Sky Ferry
2:55 Secret Sinner
4:00 Cool Beans