Racing finally returns in Britain after a two-month hiatus – and Al Ozzdi can get punters off to a flying start in the first race of the new season at Newcastle, the Betway Welcome Back British Racing Handicap.
The five-year-old has thrived to date on a Tapeta surface, placing five times from nine tries including a solid win over a mile back in January.
He should also be ready to go in this, having already had six runs this year despite the lack of racing in Britain, so fitness should not be an issue, while top all-weather rider Ben Curtis takes the ride again for Roger Fell.
In opposition, Heavenly Tale makes her handicapping debut and the well-bred Shamardal filly could offer resistance to the selection if she lives up to the promise she showed early on in her three-year-old season.
In the Betway Handicap, the most valuable race on the card, Good Tidings can redeem himself after a disappointing run at the end of an otherwise solid three-year-old campaign.
After breaking his maiden at the second time of asking, the John Gosden-trained runner won his next race and then put in a strong effort to be second at Kempton, followed by a solid third in the £70,000 London Middle Distance Series Final, where he missed out by the thinnest of margins.
A try at a mile and three-quarters proved too far in his final start of the year, but Gosden steps him back to a mile and a half and a mark of 89 still seems perfectly acceptable.
Two divisions of the Betway Maiden Stakes bring proceedings to a close, with Gosden’s Frankly Darling perhaps being the bet of the day in the first.
In her debut, which was over a mile, Frankly Darling was confidently handled throughout and found her way to the front without being asked by Nicky Mackay.
A little green when push came to shove, she found one better in the closing stages, but she looked full of promise and her pedigree – by Frankel out of a Listed-winning Daylami mare – suggests she will appreciate the step up to ten furlongs.
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