In addition to the £1-million All-Weather Championships Finals Day at Lingfield Park, Newcastle also races on Good Friday, April 19, with a terrific seven-race Tapeta programme offering over £250,000 in prize money. The three race meetings on Good Friday are all staged at Arena Racing Company venues, with Bath offering a seven-race turf programme worth just short of £200,000.
The highlight is the £100,000 Listed Ladbrokes Burradon Stakes (3.20pm, 12 runners), staged over a mile for three-year-olds.
First run in 2017, the Ladbrokes Burradon Stakes has quickly established itself as a terrific pointer to further success. The 2017 winner Forest Ranger has gone on to score in G2 and G3 company while last year's victor, Gronkowski, has twice finished second at G1 level, most recently going down by just a nose in the $12-million Dubai World Cup at Meydan, UAE, last month.
The 12-strong field this year is headed by the John Gosden-trained Daarik (Jim Crowley), successful on his last two starts including when a convincing winner over six furlongs at Newcastle on November 28. The three-year-old son of Tamayuz scored on Polytrack at Kempton Park over seven furlongs on March 30 and is the 7/2 market leader with sponsor Ladbrokes.
Ed Vaughan saddles the unbeaten Magic J (Pat Cosgrave, 5/1 with Ladbrokes), who is owned by Phoenix Thoroughbred Limited. The Scat Daddy colt steps up to a mile and makes his All-Weather debut, having previously plundered a six-furlong turf novice event at Yarmouth in September.
Other horses putting unbeaten records on the line are Bayroot (Roger Varian/Andrea Atzeni, 10/1), winner of a novice event at Kempton over seven furlongs on Polytrack in October, and Antagonize (Bryan Smart/Graham Lee, 20/1), who followed up victory at Newcastle in June with success at Redcar in July, both of which came over seven furlongs.
Richard Hannon and Silvestre De Sousa team up with the King Power Racing-owned Fox Power (12/1), who makes his seasonal debut at Newcastle.
Successful at Wolverhampton on Tapeta over seven furlongs in September, the son of Dark Angel was second, beaten a nose, on his first start over a mile at Doncaster in handicap company in October.
Wiltshire-based Hannon said: "Fox Power is in good form and goes for the Burradon.
"He is a promising horse and was narrowly beaten in two contests towards the back-end of last year.
"He is a horse I like and this looks a good place to start.
"Hopefully, things can come right this term and we are looking forward to running."
The progressive Creationist (Roger Charlton/Jason Watson, 10/1) steps up in class having captured a pair of mile novice contests at Kempton and Newcastle respectively this year, whilst Insandi (William Haggas/Paul Hanagan, 5/1) has his first run in Britain having joined Newmarket handler William Haggas. The three-year-old son of Anodin was a fine second in a G3 contest over a mile at Longchamp in September on his final start for Carlos Laffon-Parais.
G3 scorer Marie's Diamond (Mark Johnston/P J McDonald, 8/1), who also finished second in a pair of G2 events last season, finished fifth on his reappearance in the G3 Prix Djebel at Maisons-Laffitte, France, on April 10.
Ladbrokes Burradon Stakes, Ladbrokes bet:
7/2 Daarik; 5/1 Insandi, Magic J; 8/1 Marie's Diamond; 10/1 Bayroot, Creationist, Dark Jedi, Ebury; 12/1 Fox Power; 20/1 Antagonize, Pogo; 25/1 Dark Lochnagar
The supporting action at Newcastle on Good Friday is headed by the £85,000 Betway Live Casino Handicap (3.55pm, 14 runners) over an extended mile and a half.
This contest sees the return of Baghdad (Mark Johnston/P J McDonald, 9st 5lb), not seen out since winning the King George V Handicap at Royal Ascot last year.
Weights are headed by Godolphin's Desert Fire (Saeed bin Suroor/Pat Cosgrave, 9st 7lb), who has been in fine form at Meydan, UAE, over the winter while another leading contender is Big Kitten (William Haggas/Jim Crowley), twice a winner at Newcastle.
Good Friday's programme at Newcastle runs from 1.40pm through to 4.55pm.