Race of The Day Friday June 29
20:051m2fur (2000m)

Stobart Energy Hoppings Fillies’ Stakes (Group 3)

Newcastle

  • Current Favourite  Smart Call
  • Current Odds 5/2
Race Analysis Runners 9 Going Standard - Tapeta Distance 1m2fur (2000m)

Race Overview

£60,000 in prize money is on offer for this Group 3 mile-and-a-quarter contest open to three-year-olds and upwards, but restricted to fillies and mares only.

First run in 1999, this race has been won by a mixture of horses just falling short of top class company, and those who made their way up the ladder having progressed through handicap company and listed events. Since 2016 the race has been staged on Newcastle’s Tapeta surface that replaced the old turf track.

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Horse racing Sir Michael Stoute

Favourite Smart Call

With his horses in fine form, Sir Michael Stoute’s ex-South African Group 1 winner will be a popular choice dropping down in grade having run well last time at York when third in the Group 2 Middleton Stakes won by Coronet.

Horse racing - Luca Cumani

Other Contenders

Luca Cumani’s unexposed Four White Socks is likely to attract market interest, while old rivals Mia Tesoro and Maid To Remember will also be looking for black type, and in-form Eve Johnson Houghton runs Magnolia Springs.

Race Analysis

If this race was still run on turf it wouldn’t be unreasonable to suggest that the six-year-old Smart Call, twice a winner in Group 1 company in her native South Africa, and who has run well in hot company over the last year without reaching the same perceived level since moving to join Sir Michael Stoute, would be an even money shot. The seven-time winner ran well when ebaten just over two lengths in a Group 2 at York last time won by the useful Coronet, but there’s a nagging suspicion that she might not prove as effective on this artificial surface.

On her only previous attempt away from turf she was a beaten favourite in a Kempton listed race in April, failing to pick up when push came to shove. That was her first start back from a break and her yard’s horses weren’t in the best of form at the time, but the fact she drops in grade to tackle this gives pause for thought.

FOUR WHITE SOCKS hasn’t yet achieved anything close to the level of Smart Call this far, but the signs are that she is well regarded and she is with a master trainer of progressive fillies. She only made her racecourse bow six weeks ago in a Windsor maiden, finishing a fine runner-up to a certain Agrotera, beaten a length-and-a-half. The winner hackled up in the Sandringham Handicap at Royal Ascot last week so that form looks very good indeed.

Horse racing - Luca Cumani

Luca Cumani saddles the Betting.Net selection Four White Socks

 

Stepped up to a mile-and-a-quarter at Goodwood earlier this month, this daughter of Lope De Vega easily landed her novice stakes giving the distinct impression she could be an exciting filly as the season develops. The fact that she holds an entry in the Group 1 Nassau Stakes at Glorious Goodwood in five weeks time is an indication of the regard in which she is held and she can take another step forward by winning this Group 3 contest for a trainer who has a sparkling 38% strike rate at this track.

Mia Tesoro won the listed Nottinghamshire Oaks earlier this month in pleasing fashion, a race in which William Haggas’ Maid To Remember was two lengths back in fourth (see below). That is decent form, but the latter may do better this time as she was returning from nearly a year on the sidelines and should strip fitter. She could be a danger.

Eve Johnson Houghton can do no wrong of late and her Magnolia Springs appeared much improved by the step up to this trip when powering to a pleasing win in the listed Height of Fashion Stakes at goodwood last month. Like Maid To Remember she is untried on this surface but will have worked on a similar surface at home and showed give a good account of herself once again and is progressive.

Read review

Betting.net Selection

Four White Socks
4/1
Read review

Betting.net Danger

Maid To Remember
7/1

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Paul Alster Betting.net

Written by Paul Alster

Paul Alster has been part of the British and international racing media for more than three decades working as a race commentator, TV/radio presenter, journalist, betting correspondent, SP returner, and form analyst. He’s always sought out overpriced runners in handicap races, a quest that excites him as much now as it did at the start of his career.