Mick Fitzgerald’s 5 best Saturday selections

* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change

Newcastle takes center stage on ITV this Saturday but there is a small matter of the Irish Derby, which had a real twist this week with Colin Keane taking over the ride on Westover.

STRIKE RED’S trainer Richard Fahey is in good form, as shown by his two winners at Royal Ascot last week, and I like Strike Red here. This son of Dark Angel has won four races with two of them coming at this track over this trip. There was plenty to like about his fourth at Hamilton recently and he has to be the selection.

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The William Haggis-trained SENSE OF DUTY has won three of her four races and was unlucky not to win a news at Newmarket on her first start. The farm got a real boost as the second at Haydock was placed in the Group 1 at Royal Ascot and she could be a very smart three-year-old. She receives plenty of weight from older horses too. Throw in her sex allowance and she looks well in. Spycatcher with cheek pieces looks the obvious danger.

RAVENS ARK, a son of a Breeders Cup dirt winner has a good record on the artificial surface. His handicap mark is lower on it too. His last run at Goodwood (when placed second) was decent and his trainer Hughie Morrison has a good record with stayers.

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I feel a bit mean deserting Trueshan as he is the best horse in this contest. However, the burden of 10st 8lb and the fact he was beaten in the race last year has to be a little concern. Throw in the fact that he was a non-runner twice at Royal Ascot last week and I’m swerving him. Brian Ellison has not won the Northumberland Plate and it is one of his life ambitions. I feel ONESMOOTHOPERATOR gives him a very good chance. He ran very well at the track behind Earlofthecotswolds on all-weather finals day. Andrew Balding has a few chances in this and Valley Forge has to have a big chance for him and David Probert.

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This will be a tough one to take for Rob Hornby. He is replaced on WESTOVER by Colin Keane after an unlucky run through in the Derby. The experience of the three-time Irish champion is the reason behind the switch. It’s a tough call but when you engage a local rider in a big race the other jockeys are definitely easier on a local rider than they would be on an outsider coming in. It is a tough school riding in Ireland and Colin has won three championships because he knows the way it works over there.

Westover was flying at the finish of the Derby and he was a little unlucky but Desert Crown was a good winner. When you see Westover in the flesh he is bound to have improved for the experience of the Derby and ground conditions will not be a problem for him. Tuesday was supplemented for this contest and is the danger. She won a great battle with Emily Upjohn for the Oaks but the Gosdens’ filly was unlucky. She is rock solid and is trying to do what mighty mare Balanchine did.

Mick Fitzgerald’s racing tips:

13:50 Newcastle – Strike Red
14:25 Newcastle – Sense of Duty
14:55 Newcastle – Ravens Ark
15:30 Newcastle – Onesmoothoperator
15:45 Curragh – Westover

* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change

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