Ante-post Wokingham favourite Mubakker is aiming for quick consolation after missing the Ascot race when he lines up in the Betfair Backs Racing Welfare Chipchase Stakes at Newcastle.
Sir Michael Stoute felt the ground was too soft for the four-year-old ahead of the big handicap last weekend – and instead he gets to test the water in Group Three company.
The Speightstown colt looked a cut above his rivals when winning over this course and distance on the second day of racing’s resumption, a victory so comprehensive the handicapper raised him 9lb.
He is owned by Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, who enjoyed six winners at Ascot, despite Mubakker not running.
“Hopefully Mubakker should run well,” said Angus Gold, the owner’s racing manager.
“We pulled him out of Ascot last week because of the ground, he doesn’t like it soft. The fact he’s been up to Newcastle and won should be in his favour.
“Hopefully he’s a progressive horse and this looks the right race for him.”
Dane O’Neill rides Mubakker, while Jason Watson will sport the blue and white silks on the Owen Burrows-trained Shabaaby.
“Shabaaby has had another year off, he’s had plenty of issues,” said Gold. “This is a starting point for him. We want to see him come home well.
“He has a lot of ability, but he’s never been the easiest horse to train. Owen’s always thought a lot of him, but he’s hard to keep fit.”
One who did run at Ascot last week was Chiefofchiefs, who won the Silver Wokingham for Charlie Fellowes on his first ever run over six furlongs.
“There’s not much else for him after this so I felt this was the right place to go. I think the track is very similar to Ascot, I think he’ll love it,” said Fellowes.
“He’s got a good all-weather record and in Australia it’s completely normal to back up a sprinter a week later.
“He’s had a holiday. He’s only just come out of the paddock and he seems to have taken his race really well. He’s a seven-year-old so he takes his racing pretty good. I’m looking forward to it.
“There’s not much more for him until maybe the Stewards’ Cup, so we thought we’d give it whirl.”
James Tate has enjoyed a good start to the season and has two runners in the three-year-old Dream Shot and the filly Shimmering Dawn.
“They are slightly outsiders, but I thought it looked a very open race. Dream Shot always runs with credit and he’s been Group- and Listed-placed already this year. I’m sure he’ll run his race and he has a nice draw in stall 10,” said Tate.
“Shimmering Dawn is a bit more of a punt. She seems to be better on the all-weather than the grass and she’s a filly that likes to finish late over six furlongs around a bend. We just wondered what she would be like over a straight six on the all-weather and it’s a black-type opportunity.”
Kevin Ryan’s eight-year-old Brando sets the standard, but he was below form on his return when only fifth in the Abernant Stakes at Newmarket.
The other Group race on the card is the Betfair Exchange Hoppings Stakes, in which Ed Dunlop’s Virgin Snow is an interesting runner.
A daughter of Dunlop’s top-class globetrotter Snow Fairy, she is by Gleneagles and won at the third attempt when stepped up to 10 furlongs for the first time at Haydock.
“The step up in trip brought about some improvement for sure,” said Dunlop.
“She’s taking on older fillies and she’s obviously bred to be a better three-year-old.
“It’s still very much a learning curve with her and we are restricted to what races we can run in so we’ve ended up taking her to Newcastle.
“She’s run on Polytrack before when running well in a nice maiden at Kempton, so we’ll have to see. Black type is obviously vitally important to her and to her mother.
“We’re not sure just yet what her optimum trip will be. We hope she might stay a little further, but she can be a bit keen in her races. It’s hard to say so we’ll learn more about her in this.”
Ralph Beckett’s unbeaten Aloe Vera is already a Listed winner, while Andrew Balding’s Look Around has some solid form to her name.