Shore Step still on the up

June 27th, 2015 | Ian Carnaby's Racing News

By Ian Carnaby

Last Saturday showed us a small profit when Teak predictably kept on well enough to claim minor honours in the Queen Alexandra stakes at Royal Ascot. He always does his best and stays a distance of ground, making the Goodwood Stakes his main objective once again. With Teak, who won that race last year, you are always reasonably confident that he will be in at the death but this time around there will probably be two or three dangers at the weights.

The royal meeting showed callers to the line about 120 points’ profit. Rather late in the day I am edging across to higher quality races and sometimes the fare from Monday to Thursday seems to occupy a different planet. Value was hard to come by this week, with Angelito desperately short at Salisbury (he has to lead and was never going to win when trying to come from off the pace) and Touchline going for the wrong race at Carlisle. She stayed on all the way to the line when third at Ascot but needs at least a mile and this tight seven furlongs was never going to suit. After a brief rest she should be backed next time but wants the longer trip.

Trainer Brian Ellison cannot go wrong at present and Northgate Lad landed some tidy bets in the Gosforth Park Cup at Newcastle on Friday evening. That race is not worth as much as it used to be and the older horses were pretty well exposed. I found myself wondering if James Doyle is more fired up for the big meetings these days because Another Wise Kid was never put in the race before staying on quite well for fourth. Probably I am being harsh and it’s just a question of handicapping, his stiff task at the weights meaning he could not go the early pace. Doyle does give the impression of being very laid back, however.

The Newcastle card on Saturday is very competitive, with the Northumberland Plate as hot a two-mile handicap as I have seen for quite a long time. It’s really a question of deciding whether the admirable Clever Cookie can defy the welter burden of ten stones. He is certainly not out of it but there are countless dangers, including last year’s winner Angel Gabrial. Quest for More did us a major good turn at Goodwood but is high enough in the handicap and I’m not convinced the runner-up on the Sussex Downs, Oasis Fantasy, will stay this trip. It looks a very hard contest for punters.

Normally I’m very keen on the Chipchase earlier on but there are upgraded handicappers and a couple that are hardly consistent  –  Aeolus and Aetna, for a start. I’m very fond of Eastern Impact, who did us a 16/1 favour at Newmarket, but he may be a good handicapper as opposed to a Group 3 horse. Frankly this is best left alone, but the handicap, also over six furlongs, may go to Mick Channon’s SHORE STEP, who looked an improved sprinter last back-end, ran well on his reappearance and then missed the race at Windsor. Catching Mick’s sprinters on the right day will never be easy but Shore Step will be value in the ring and Martin Harley is a good boking.

Whether Zarwaan wants a mile rather than seven furlongs is distinctly possible but he is a classy handicapper and should go close in the seven-furlong affair. The key to him is the ground; Newcastle needs to miss any rain and it would help if conditions firmed up. He is more of an each-way bet than a solid win investment.

There is also a very warm sprint handicap at Windsor and I shall stay with HUNTSMANS CLOSE after his worrying antics before the start of the Wokingham, where he was withdrawn. I never thought I’d  say a Windsor handicap looked a better race than the big Ascot cavalry charge but I didn’t truly rate last week’s event when Huntsmans Close came out whereas there there are any number of possibilities, including the lightly-weighted Tamayuz Star and my friend George Materna’s Deeds Not Words, who will have his ground.

Alan Berry has never come anywhere near matching his father’s impressive record but I’LL BE GOOD is in good heart and will have only a featherweight when Paddy Pilley claims 7lb in the 4.50 at Chester. Pilley needs to get stronger but he is a capable lad and I’ll Be Good is drawn low enough in four to get these at it.