By Simon Mapletoft
Scotsman Jim Goldie loves having winners at his ‘local’ All-Weather track at Newcastle. Truth is, the Tapeta circuit is three and a half hours away from his Glasgow base by horse box, but the now familiar route has yielded unexpected success.
“My horses used to love soft ground, but they prefer the Tapeta surface now,” he explains with a chuckle. “We have a similar gallop at home, so I think a lot of it comes down to muscle memory.”
Goldie entered October as the leading trainer at the track this year with 13 winners, achieved at an impressive strike rate of 17 per cent. More importantly, anyone who backed all his runners there would be sitting on a healthy return of £66.95 to a £1 level stake.
“It’s a very fair track but winning races there, like any other All-Weather track, can come down to fine margins,” says Goldie, who is an avid student of the sectional timings posted on attheraces.com.
“Races on the straight track can be a fascinating puzzle. So many things go into the equation to win a race, but I do believe the wind can play a significant role in the results. I’m of the opinion that those horses drawn low, on the far side, are at a disadvantage if there’s a crosswind, for example. It usually blows diagonally from inside the track so those racing out there are more exposed. At the same time, the horses drawn middle to high can be shielded from it, to some extent, and that does make a difference.
“Galloping into a headwind at Newcastle can also be demanding so it’s vital the jockeys get the fractions right. If you’re racing into the wind it usually suits hold-up horses, but if ever there’s a tailwind you want to be nearer the sharp end.”
Whilst track specialists like Testa Rossa, Oriental Lilly and Lord Of The Glen will be back for more this winter, Goldie has his eye on a bigger prize further afield with one of his stable stars Theglasgowwarrior who could be aimed at Good Friday’s £150,000 Marathon Final at Lingfield Park.
Most of the yard’s runners will be partnered by resident 3lb claimer Phil Dennis, who has an 18 per cent strike rate for Goldie on sand at a level stakes profit of over £80. Jamie Gormley, who also claims 3lb, will also be utilised.
Here, Goldie discusses the prospects of his leading All-Weather contenders.