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With the All-Weather Championships season concluding nearly four weeks ago, and the last of our spring fixtures behind us, we take a look ahead to the 2019 flat season, and a few of the big race prospects that have been seen in recent times on the Tapeta of Newcastle.
The first classics of the season have been run, with Magna Grecia and Hermosa tasting victory at Newmarket, but there are plenty more pointers still to be revealed for the greatest flat race of them all, the Derby, and the over 30 Group 1s to be staged on the turf throughout 2019.
Attentions turn this week to York and the Dante Stakes. Although not a Group 1, the race often provides valuable pointers to the Derby in early June, and hopefully that remains the case and Roger Varian's SURFMAN (pictured) can run a strong race, just over two weeks since a 14 length victory in a Novice event here. An absolute picture in the paddock, Surfman justified favouritism to win very easily on one of our additional fixtures, and has since been slashed in price to just 4/1 for the Dante, in which he could line up against top class three-year-olds Too Darn Hot and Japan.
The next Group 1 of the season however also has a spot of Newcastle All-Weather Championships form prominent in the market. Entering his four-year-old season, WITHOUT PAROLE looks to make his UK seasonal reapparance in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury. The son of Frankel showed an electrifying turn of foot to win on debut at Newcastle, and then picked up Group 1 success in the form of the St James's Palace Stakes. The renewal of that race at the royal meeting could well go the way of another top class Newcastle All-Weather Championships performer, with 2019 Burradon Stakes winner FOX POWER holding an entry, along with impressive recent 11 length winner LORD NORTH and January winner SET PIECE.
The royal meeting could prove quite fruitful for recent All-Weather Championships winners, and one such horse with high potential for victory is MOONLIGHT SPIRIT, unbeaten in three now, including debut success here in November, and an entry is held for the King Edward VII Stakes.
And of course, a close watch always remains on our first all-weather year wonders ENABLE and STRADIVARIUS, as they bid for a potential third ARC and stayers division superiority respectively.
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