Runners fight out the finish at NewcastleAfter a fantastic Cheltenham Festival, we’ve invited Daryl Carter (@darylcarter7) to be a new tipster for the Flat. Here is the first in his regular column

DECEMBER SECOND (5.05 Newcastle, 1.5pts each-way)

It’s a tricky time of year but non runner on the Newcastle card makes more appeal than DECEMBER SECOND and Phillip Kirby’s runner has made a serious impression in just seven career starts.

He was twice a winner in bumper races and finished a closing sixth on his penultimate start before switching to the Flat. That race in particular reads extremely well with Supreme Novice Hurdle second Abacadabras and County Hurdle third Embittered just five and three lengths ahead of today’s selection.

December Second’s Flat debut came at Goodwood when an untidy start likely cost him the race when finishing second, but again the race reads well with third-placed Cape Cavalli (83) and fourth Caravan Of Hope (85) receiving 16lb in weight from December Second and both horses going on to win since.

The selection was beaten next time out at Doncaster when attempting to give the smart John Gosden trained Promissory (103) 17lb but ran with credit when beaten just five lengths. The drop in trip to 1m at Hamilton next time would have not suited the strong stayer but he still ran extremely well to ensure the well punted 1/4f New Arrangement (92) had to pull out all the stops to hold him off. He made a mockery of his opening handicap mark of 82 at Haydock easily clearing away from Celestial Force (84) to win eased down by five lengths giving that rival 3lb in weight.

December Second received a 10lb hike in the weights for that victory and takes a slight step up in grade here but that should hold no fears for the unexposed stayer who I expect to rate 100 by the end of the season and the 10/1 is too tempting despite this being his first start on the AW (sire 30% strike rate on AW).

Phillip Kirby, on first glance, has a poor record at Newcastle but digging a little deeper show that he has had only three runners in Class 3 races or above yielding one winner with an A/E of 1.67 suggesting his runners are usually overlooked in the betting and this may be his best chance today despite saddling two runners.

Of those at the head of the market the suspicion is that Alignak will need the run and, although impressive at Kempton when last seen, he needs to back that up in a much stronger race here. Along with Good Tidings, he hasn’t proved totally reliable and can be avoided at the prices.

Kirby’s other runner is more fancied in the market but I expect that to change on the day, with the form of Ice Pyramid nowhere near the level of December Second and Kirby has booked Ben Curtis who is 0-7 for the trainer.

BACK DECEMBER SECOND AT 9/1 HERE

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THIBAAN (5.40 Newcastle, 0.5pts win)

A bit of guesswork is required with some of these in the field but THIBAAN created a good impression at Kempton in a race that has the makings of some strong form lines going forward and at the prices he is worth siding with over Frankly Darling.

Sir Michael Stoute has a good record in maiden races at Newcastle operating at a 40% strike rate with two winners from five runners with a further two second-place finishes.

BACK THIBAAN AT 7/2 HERE

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Daryl Carter’s Best Bets

DECEMBER SECOND (5.05 Newcastle, 1.5pts each-way) 9/1 bet365

THIBAAN (5.40 Newcastle, 0.5pts win) 11/4 bet365

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