I wish the BHA would have a rethink about their policy of watering tracks during the summer, especially when it’s a three-day festival.
A forecast of dry weather this week prompted Newcastle to turn on the taps, and it could have a detrimental effect on today’s proceedings.
Rain on watered ground can quickly change conditions. They were caught out by some steady rain on Thursday, which apparently wasn’t expected, and more has fallen since.
I didn’t want to cloud my judgement on the Plate but the rain has done just that. On the other hand, it has strengthened my case for napping Jack Dexter in the opening Betfred Chipchase Stakes. Described by his trainer Jim Goldie as “the best soft-ground sprinter in the country”, Jack Dexter ran a blinder in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot. His fourth to Sole Power was a career-best effort.
Despite the surface being quicker than he would have liked he made up a lot of ground in the last furlong and was doing all his best work late on.
Today’s extra furlong, plus a drop in grade and the prospect of some cut, will make him very hard to beat.
Progressive last year, he kicked off the current campaign with a Listed victory at Doncaster before running well below his best there a fortnight later. He was back on track, however, at York with a promising effort behind Society Rock in the Duke Of York Stakes and improved on that at the royal meeting.
Jack Dexter can regain winning ways at Group 3 level here, and the main danger could be Majestic Myles, who has had a wind operation since his last run and, if he can recapture his best form, he shouldn’t be far away.
This is my last column for The Journal after more than 50 years, appropriately enough on Plate Day.
However, I will continue to contribute a daily treble for the publication until the end of the Flat season as I am currently riding high in the Coral-sponsored Racing Post naps competition. There is a long way to go – October 24 to be precise – but, who knows, I might finally bow out in a blaze of glory. When you have been knocking on the door as many times in this championship you always live in hope that one day it might open.
Also, those who run racing tend to forget punters who pay for their pleasure and keep the show on the road. They deserve most recognition and I have enjoyed fighting your corner when the occasion demanded it.
In such an unpredictable sport, value for money has always been my priority, and I am sure you will always remember those days when we really had the bookmakers scurrying for shelter.