One of the most easily identified horses on the flat in the last few years has been the chestnut and white TOP NOTCH TONTO and he might be very visible if he is ahead of his field at the end of the extended mile and a half handicap at Newcastle this afternoon.
A nine-year-old, he was regarded as a miler for most of his career and had some success at that distance with four wins plus two at other trips since his debut six years ago.
He had a season in Ireland last year and performed well in a couple of big races but came back to Brian Ellison, his trainer for much of his career, at the start of this month.
Ellison immediately put him over a longer distance, first at York and then in the Cumberland Plate at Carlisle on Wednesday.
He ran a remarkable race there, breaking slowly and being last or second last throughout the first mile plus of the race.
Nearly twenty lengths down at the bottom of the hill, he absolutely whooshed home in the last furlong, finishing a three-lengths seventh, with the likelihood of being placed with another few strides.
A reproduction of that would win today’s event so racing’s eternal question – will the horse do it again? – is the big one.
He should handle the ground as the progeny of his sire Thousand Words are seven from 50 on it and his price, 6/1 with Coral is worth taking – and he’s being backed.
RASHDAN is best on BTO ratings and stats while FRANCOPHILIA, a daughter of Frankel, had everything going for her at Ripon last time but ran as though something was wrong.
She could easily bounce back on earlier form but there is no going guarantee with her.
Front Runner To Hang On At Chester