Megan Nicholls Racing Preview - Newcastle & Lingfield

BetMGM ambassador Megan Nicholls gives her thoughts on the horse racing world, bringing her insightful opinions and first-rate knowledge exclusively to our blog every week.

This time the former jockey – now a celebrated TV pundit – previews Newcastle and Lingfield on Friday.

Saturday Racing

Newcastle 1.53 – Handicap Chase

Spartan Army (10/3) is improving - he’s a tough horse. He’s three from three on the all-weather, so he’s clearly enjoying that and he has a bit of wriggle room on that mark.

My Each Way pick is Tyson Fury (17/2) - he’s unexposed with his relatively new trainer Denis Hogan and is definitely unexposed at this trip. He’s a massive horse with loads of ability if he can settle.

Megan’s Selection: Spartan Army WIN; Tyson Fury E/W

Lingfield 2.05 – Middle Distance Handicap

Wadacre Gomez (8/1) is a very consistent horse who is well drawn in two. I think he’ll go forward, which suits him.

He didn’t have the best trip around Lingfield last time when he got caught stuck out wide from a bad draw.

He’s well drawn this time and with Franny Norton back on board, I think he can go very well.

Megan’s Selection: Wadacre Gomez WIN

Newcastle 2.25 – Class 2

Sommelier (10/3) was behind Blue Prince (4/1) last time but I just think he could be a bit fresher and readier for this.

He has obviously been prepped with this in mind. He’s better drawn this time and I think a race with plenty of pace on will just fall into his hands a bit better.

I think Sommelier has a good chance.

Megan’s Selection: Sommelier WIN

Lingfield 2.40 – Class 3

I’ve gone with Benavente (13/2) at a slightly bigger price.

He has a bad draw, but a lot of the fancied runners are drawn wide.

Shane Gray won on him at Southwell last time and keeps the ride. He had a similar wide draw then but he took his time and the horse absolutely took off to draw easily clear of the field that day.

I think he'll be ridden similarly, with lots of patience and for a turn of foot.

I think he will run pretty well.

Megan’s Selection: Benavente EW

Newcastle 3.00 – Class 2

I have gone for one that could be a safe bet - Aramis Grey (15/2), who will appreciate going back to Newcastle because she does her best work late on.

She was second in this race last year, although it was a conditioned race, and so in a handicap she will be better off.

She is super consistent, you can't knock her for that, so even if she can't quite win, and is vulnerable to a younger improving horse, I think she will go very close and is a safe bet into the placings.

Megan’s Selection: Aramis Grey EW

Lingfield 3.15 – Class 2

I have gone for Red Flyer (12/1) - a better draw this time, popping out of stall three.

He was narrowly behind the likes of Spartan Army in the Championship Marathon Handicap at Newcastle in his penultimate start and was behind him again at Lingfield the next time, but he had a pretty bad draw.

A better draw this time can help, it's a lesser race, and I still think he remains pretty competitive off this mark and as a rule is a pretty consistent type of horse.

Megan’s Selection: Red Flyer EW

Newcastle 3.35 – Class 2 Sprint

Cover Up (7/2) could just be a huge improver - he's up 13lbs, which is a massive rise, but was very impressive last time. Three from three on the all-weather but it's hard to know how much improvement is left to come.

I'm looking at a couple of bigger prices here that I like.

I like the fact Coachello (12/1) is back in a handicap, and his listed form is looking pretty decent with Diligent Harry and Annaf both ahead of him. He ran a very good race and David Egan gets on with him very well, he's a winner over course and distance already this all-weather season, and I think he can run well.

Another huge price I am going to throw in is The X O (18/1) - he went very well here in the 3-year-old race last year and he's run better races than what the numbers or results suggest the last twice. He has plenty of ability, this horse, and I think he can run well into a race.

Megan’s Selection: Coachello WIN The X O EW

Lingfield 3.50 – Class 3 Sprint

I've gone with Prince Of Zenda (4/1), who wings around these sharp tracks.

From a pace angle, I hope his stablemate How Impressive (11/2) doesn't bother him too much for the lead and they can go for fairly sensible fractions.

Prince of Zenda being back to six furlongs really helps - these sharp tracks are really to his liking and it's interesting that Shane Foley is up to ride.

This horse has got a big chance.

Megan’s Selection: Prince Of Zenda WIN

Newcastle 4.10 – Class 2

Elegant Man (9/2) might just be a serious group horse and his form is looking pretty decent. He’s been behind Rebel's Romance, which is very strong and eye-catching, and he was impressive again last time.

It's a totally different task in a handicap top weight, but it might be that we have a group horse running in a handicap and I like that angle.

He tends to be ridden with a bit of patience so a wide draw doesn't bother me too much in this race and I am looking forward to seeing him back on the track.

Storm Catcher (9/1) could reverse the form with Penzance (7/2) - he closed on him when they met the second time and they are only a pound different in the weights this time. If Storm Catcher could reverse the form with Penzance, then it could be the main danger to Elegant Man.

Oh So Grand (4/1) is a filly I do really like and she has a great turn of foot, so if it is slow, that would suit her. But it's a totally different ask at Newcastle than at Lingfield.

Megan’s Selection: Elegant Man WIN Stormcatcher EW

Newcastle 4.40 – Class 2

Dear My Friend (10/3) has got a huge amount of weight at 10st 1lb. He's four from four on the all-weather and a massive improver since the wind operation at gelding, as well.

He's beaten all of these with ease.

I didn’t think there was masses of pace in this race, I think it will help to be sitting handy and Dear My Friend will be right up there.

He has got to overcome stall four but Joe Fanning will track over towards the middle of the track pretty quickly and try to get a lead of Talis Evolvere (25/1), who is likely to go forward from stall seven.

A horse I thought was a good Each Way price here was McLean House (11/1), who is off a very low weight. Hayley Turner and Andrew Balding team up with great success on these types of horses. She rides a lot of winners for him, including bottom weights in big handicaps.

It's a straightforward horse who will sit fairly close behind the pace, five from nine is a good overall record, and with only nine starts, it suggests he's still unexposed. He ran pretty well behind Dear My Friend in the trial at Lingfield previously.

Megan’s Selection: Dear My Friend WIN McLean House EW

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Odds correct at time of publication but subject to fluctuation

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