It’s a quiet looking start to the racing week but things do get interesting as the days go by.
The weather, of course, may take its toll on a meeting or two; officials at Sedgefield had to go for a third morning inspection on Monday before racing got the okay. Down in Gloucestershire, they will be hoping for slightly warmer temperatures for Festival Trials Day at Cheltenham on Saturday.
Across the pond this weekend it is the 2019 running of the $9 million Pegasus World Cup; they are unlikely to require a morning inspection due to frost at Gulfstream Park in Florida.
Before any of that, they race on the Tapeta at Newcastle on Tuesday evening and there is the 5f Betway Conditions Stakes (All-Weather Championships Fast-Track Qualifier) at 5.45. Encore D’Or is clear on OR’s and will no doubt be popular but it is worth noting he has not run here since his handicapping days though he did win over C&D in 2016. The evergreen Tropics must also enter calculations as should Ornate who I put up on New Years Day when the 6yo got beat but he has gone on to win his two races since. Most interesting perhaps is Stone Of Destiny; the lightly raced 4yo who has been in better company than this on his last couple of runs and might have a bit of improvement to come yet. His two career wins have been on the All-Weather, from three starts, one at Chelmsford and here over 6f as well as a second place finish over this track and trip behind the now 109 rated Corinthia Knight. At the prices, I have taken a chance on youth over experience in the hope the gelding can get a nice bit of cover early before picking these off late on. I have 7-2 overnight bpg with Ladbrokes.