Horse racing fans are in for a treat this weekend, with several major meetings scheduled to take place in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
The Northumberland Plate at Newcastle is the standout race in the UK, while the Irish Derby at the Curragh headlines proceedings in Ireland.
Read on as we take a closer look at the big races this weekend and pick out four horses we believe are well worth following.
Valley Forge – Northumberland Plate
The big talk in the run-up to the Northumberland Plate is whether trainer Alan King will allow star stayer Trueshan to run under 10st 8lb.
If King leaves the six-year-old in the line-up, some extremely talented horses will carry less than 9st in the prestigious two-mile race.
They include Andrew Balding’s Valley Forge, who is amongst the favourites with horse racing betting site Betway to claim first prize.
Valley Forge returned to form when getting up close home at Haydock in May and looks ideally weighted to run a big race this weekend.
Tuesday – Irish Derby
Aidan O’Brien sprung a major surprise by opting to supplement Oaks winner Tuesday for the Irish Derby at the Curragh this weekend.1
The last filly to win the race was Balanchine in 1994, but O’Brien feels that Tuesday has the talent to beat the boys at the Curragh.
Epsom Derby third Westover is also in the line-up, setting up what will provide an interesting insight into the merits of English Derby and Oaks form.
O’Brien’s decision to supplement Tuesday rather than rely on his colts has sparked plenty of debate, but it is a decision which may well be vindicated.
Harry Three – Chipchase Stakes
William Haggas’ recent Cecil Frail winner Sense Of Duty is a worthy favourite for the Chipchase Stakes having won three of her four career outings.
However, Sense of Duty faces a tough task in the Group 3 event, with plenty of talented horses set to tackle her at Newcastle.
They include Ebro River, Spycatcher and Glen Shiel, but the value bet could well be Clive Cox’s Harry Three who won impressively at York last time out.
Harry Three won twice on a synthetic surface at Kempton as a two-year-old and could be tough to pass over this stiff six furlongs.
Universal Order – Fred Archer Stakes
Universal Order was a game winner of the Fred Archer Stakes at Newmarket two years ago and can repeat the trick this time around.
The six-year-old was conceding 12lb to Contact at Haydock on his most recent outing, and ran a fine race to get within one-and-a-quarter lengths of that horse.
Contact subsequently finished third in the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes off a 6lb higher mark to highlight the strength of the Haydock form.
Universal Order appears to have been laid out for another tilt at the race by trainer David Simcock and it will take a good horse to lower his colours.