Ben Curtis steers Guipure to victory at Newcastle

Trainer Karl Burke says the filly has strengthened over the winter.

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Guipure picked up the new season where she left off the last one with a victory in the Heed Your Hunch At Betway Handicap at Newcastle.

Karl Burke’s filly was put up 7lb for winning at Pontefract on her final start as a juvenile but the manner of this success suggested she still has a bit in hand of the handicapper.

Burke had feared that his string might not be at concert pitch in the early days of the new season but he was registering his second winner and for jockey Ben Curtis it was a third.

Guipure (6-1) beat Bavardages by half a length with the same back to Bottom Bay.

“She’s grown through the winter and strengthened,” said Burke

“I thought she was coming here with a chance but I thought she might just need the run as our older horses that have run this week have had a good blow.

“The two-year-olds, which we’ve been teaching to race, have all run well but it’s been a bit stop-start with the older ones. She’ll come on from that and should improve for stepping up in trip.”

Michael Dods seems to find a nice horse or two every season and in Brunch (evens favourite), comfortable winner of the first division of the one-mile Betway-sponsored novice stakes, he appears to have another.

Fifth on his debut last year, he stepped up on that to win next time out but looked to face a stiff task giving 7lb to all of his rivals.

He settled nicely in the hands of Callum Rodriguez and soon put the race to bed on entering the final furlong, beating Returnofthemac by two-and-a-half-lengths.

Dods said: “Brunch is a nice horse. He won nicely at Newcastle last year and he’d have been out earlier if we hadn’t had the hold up.

“I wasn’t really wanting to run him in a novice but off 76 I thought it was impossible to get into a handicap. Thankfully he stayed the mile well.

“We like him and I think he’s a horse with a smart future. He has a great attitude and we like him. I know he hasn’t beaten a lot there but he’s done it impressively.”

The second division contained two very nice horses with William Haggas’ Al Salt (5-2) just holding off the newcomer Tilsit by a neck.

Fifth when green on debut last year, he was gelded over the winter but it was Charlie Hills’ Tilsit who was sent off the 10-11 favourite off the back of some strong homework.

The pair pulled almost 10 lengths clear of the third, with Al Salt gaining the verdict by a head.

“You could say the experience made a difference,” said winning rider Dane O’Neill.

“I’ve seen Charlie’s at home because I ride out there quite a lot and he works well.

“It could have been the experience but if anything I helped him (Tilsit) because I got him running again and he came with me. I think gelding my fellow has made a big difference, he’s a trier, he’s a nice horse and hopefully he’ll go forward.”

There was to be no repeat win for Zodiakos who won Monday’s first race upon the resumption of racing as he was unplaced behind John Butler’s Bombastic (5-1) in the Read Andrew Balding On Betway Insider Handicap.

Sunset Breeze (5-1) provided Sir Mark Prescott and Luke Morris with a first winner since the resumption of racing in the Betway Handicap.

Almost first off the bridle, he stuck to his task gamely and collared My Kinda Day in the final strides to win by a head.

“Sunset Breeze is a tough horse, he needs every yard of six furlongs and the stiff track played to his strengths,” said Morris.

Adaay Dream (13-2) looks to have a nice future based on the way he brushed his rivals aside in the six-furlong novice stakes.

Trained by Tom Dascombe and ridden by Richard Kingscote, he kicked clear of Mark Johnston’s High Peak on entering the final furlong and pulled two and a quarter lengths clear. He was a first winner for the freshman sire, Adaay.

Kingscote said: “I felt he was the winner from start to finish really.

“I got left in no man’s land a bit, but it seems here you can get rolling early and keep going.

“Tom suggested he’d be better when the seven-furlong races start so I wasn’t worried about pressing on.”

Curtis went on to ride a treble, having claimed the feature Pavilion Stakes aboard Burke’s Dubai Station and then the two-mile handicap on Nigel Hawke’s Le Musee, who last ran in the Kim Muir at the Cheltenham Festival.

“He’s been rated as high as 147 over fences so he’s well handicapped on the Flat, but you wouldn’t be confident he’d back it up next time out – that’s Le Musee!” said Hawke.

Ben Curtis steers Guipure to victory at Newcastle
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