Sunderland Echo

Royal can give Birth to a win at Newcastle

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Newcastle stages the latest Fast Track Qualifier on Tuesday, and the veteran Royal Birth looks a good bet to continue his renaissanc­e in the Betway Conditions Stakes.

The Stuart Williamstr­ained 10-year-old has won his last two outings, both over the minimum trip at Lingfield.

But while he officially won over five furlongs last time out, he must have covered a fair bit more given his wayward tendencies.

Royal Birth hung right off the home bend before then hanging back into his left, but he managed to get up to win close home. Thankfully Newcastle is straight.

A real all-weather specialist, he is rated some 16lb lower on turf yet he is not a million miles away from his careerhigh mark, suggesting he retains plenty of ability.

It is a testament to Williams' skill as a trainer that a sprinter of this age is still competing at such a high level, and it would be nice to see him book a spot on Good Friday.

Williams may already be on the board by then, courtesy of the giant Herculean in the Bombardier British Hopped Amber Beer Handicap

From a famous Juddmonte family, it is fair to say Herculean has not lived up to early expectatio­ns since winning on his debut for Roger Charlton.

Despite being winless in his last six outings, the handicappe­r has refused to relent and he finds himself just 2lb lower than his opening handicap mark - which indicates somebody thinks the ability is in there somewhere.

He showed up well for a long way on his debut for Williams at Newmarket in July but was then last of eight at Ascot on his next outing in October.

While he did win on his debut at Ascot, he also disappoint­ed on his final run for Charlton there, and might be one of those who dislikes the place.

He has only run on the allweather once - and although he was well beaten, it is too early to say he will not prove a s e f f e c t ive, a n d t h i s s o n of Frankel and Group One sprinter African Rose may be best caught fresh.

There is another qualifier for Good Friday over a mile, and Vintager looks the one to be on in the Bombardier Conditions Stakes.

A smart performer for David Menuisier, he was bought by Godolphin - for whom he w o n at G ro u p T h re e a n d

Group Two level.

He now finds himself with Simon and Ed Crisford - and he made the perfect start for new connection­s at Chantilly last month.

Vintager looked in a different league to his French rivals that day, and it means he should arrive here at the top of his game and in with a good shout.

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