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McGuinness looking to Harry’s Bar for Sprint victory

Adrian McGuinness’ Irish raider Harry’s Bar looks to make a successful trip to Newcastle when he goes for glory in the Betway All-Weather Sprint Championships Conditions Stakes on Friday.

The seven-year-old has been well-travelled in the early part of the year having spent January and February running in Meydan.

The gelding failed to trouble the judge in four outings in Dubai, but returned to the winner’s enclosure with a comfortable win at Dundalk last time, a performance which puts him bang in contention for this £150,000 prize.

McGuinness was delighted to see his 11-times winner triumph again and is confident he can make his mark in the north east, with the handler counting the switch in venue from Lingfield to Gosforth Park as a positive for his charge, who was sixth in the race last year.

“You would have to say that Harry’s Bar favours the all-weather and it was great to see him back in that sort of form at Dundalk the other week,” he said.

“He disappointed us a little in Dubai, although he did run well over seven furlongs one night, but I think everything about the race at Newcastle should really suit him.

“The straight course there takes a bit of getting and he will enjoy it if they go hard and come back to him. I can see him running a big race.”

Charlie Fellowes’ Ejtilaab is expected to play a major part in this sprinting showcase and tuned up for his tilt at this prize with an impressive win at Kempton last month.

The highest-rated horse in the race, the course-and-distance winner appears to tick plenty of boxes and his handler is certain he will do his reputation justice.

“Ejtilaab has been in really good nick and this race has been the plan since he returned from Dubai. He worked on Friday on the grass and looked fantastic,” he said.

“I think he has a lot going for him; he has won over the course and distance, he is the highest-rated horse in the race and he is coming in on the back of a career-best performance.

William Hill Northumberland Plate Day – Newcastle Racecourse
Ejtilaab ridden by David Egan (left) on their way to winning the williamhill.com Best Odds Guaranteed Handicap race at Newcastle (Tim Goode/PA)

Another to make a trip to the middle-east during the colder months, Fellowes believes his time in Meydan could be the making of the six-year-old.

“His trip out to Dubai seems to have made a man of him and those runs on the dirt in particular have taught him how to sprint properly. They go so hard from the start that, if you don’t get out and get your legs moving, you are stuck in behind facing the kickback, which makes it very difficult,” he explained.

“I guess he could have gone the other way and hated it, but thankfully it has brought him on. I think that was borne out in his performance at Kempton when he bossed the race from start to finish.

“I thought the manner of his win at Kempton was outstanding, especially under top weight, and if he can replicate that level of performance at Newcastle, he is going to take a bit of beating,” added Ejtilaab’s trainer.”

Exalted Angel (nearside) was edged out last year
Exalted Angel (nearside) was edged out last year (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Exalted Angel was runner-up to Summerghand in this 12 months ago and is part of a three-strong challenge from Karl Burke’s yard.

All three ran in the Kachy Stakes at Lingfield in February and only a neck separated Spycatcher (first) and Lord Of The Lodge (second), who join last year’s silver medallist to make a fearsome Spigot Lodge triumvirate.

Spycatcher is the shortest-priced of Burke’s trio with the bookmakers and the trainer said of his chances: “Spycatcher has had a few issues with quarter cracks, which has held us up a bit since his last run, but he is in good shape now and moving well.

“If he runs like he did in the Kachy Stakes, he should have every chance and the track at Newcastle will play more to his strengths than Lingfield.”

Having been denied on the line at Lingfield, Lord Of The Lodge took in a trip to Meydan for the Group Three Nad Al Sheba Turf, finishing an honourable eighth.

“Lord Of The Lodge has come back from Dubai in good shape and I can see him running a big race. He has a good record at Newcastle and that can only be a positive,” added Burke.

The handler also delivered a positive bulletin about Exalted Angel, who will have the assistance of David Probert on Friday afternoon.

“Exalted Angel would have been at least third behind the other two in the Kachy Stakes had he not been hampered close home,” said Burke.

“Then we made the mistake of running him back quickly a couple of times, so we gave him a break and he is coming back to himself now.”

Keith Dalgleish saddles two including Volatile Analyst, who was a Listed winner at Doncaster and will look to follow up in the hands of Callum Rodriguez. He is joined in the line-up by stablemate Soldier’s Minute, with Tom Marquand partnering Mick Appleby’s consistent Edraak.

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