For the second time in less than nine months, Withhold (advised @ 6/1) did Ahead On The Flat Update (page 42) followers a good turn by winning the Northumberland Plate at Newcastle on his reappearance. Racing off a twelve pounds higher mark than when capturing the Cesarewitch last October, Roger Charlton's five year old defied an absence of 259 days to make all by score by nearly three lengths. Ridden by Robert Winston for only the second time, he made light of his wide draw in stall eleven and was in front passing the winning post with a circuit to run. Winston dictated matters thereafter and was allowed a relatively soft lead. Kicking for home with over three furlongs to run, the result never looked in doubt. While Withhold was undoubtedly the best horse in the race, one has to agree with his winning rider who felt they were gifted the race to an extent. He was allowed to get to the front relatively easily from a wide draw, the other horses let him to dictate from the front and Robert Winston kicked off a steady gallop. However, I am not complaining and the former Charlie Hills' trained gelding is rapidly becoming one of my favourite horses in training. The Melbourne Cup is reportedly his long-term target. With a bit of luck, he could be taking on another my favourite horses Magic Circle at Flemington on the first Tuesday in November.
Life On Earth (6/4) (page 41) was also highlighted as a horse to look out for in the Royal Ascot Update. Making her handicap debut off a lenient looking rating of 72, William Haggas' well bred filly appreciated the step up to a mile and three in the opening 0-70 event at Lingfield on Saturday evening. Patiently ridden by Oisin Murphy, the daughter of Animal Kingdom took charge inside the final furlong and a half and was value for much more than the winning margin of a length and a quarter. I will be surprised if she doesn't follow up and develop into a useful middle distance three year old filly. Thank you to those clients who have emailed, it is greatly appreciated.
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