British racing returns after a ten-week absence on Monday with a 10-race card at Gosforth Park, Newcastle. The meeting will be staged behind closed doors with strict government guidelines in operation. All staff on the racecourse will be provided with personal protective equipment and all jockeys will wear facemasks, as is currently the case in France who have been racing successfully for three weeks since their own break.

All ten races have attracted maximum fields of 12 runners and the going was described as standard to slow on the tapeta surface in advance. The track is about an hour from Barnard Castle for those thinking of a quick drive up the A1 to check their eyesight which has obviously become increasingly fashionable.

In the second race on the card - Mile Handicap - the filly Geizy Teisy is interesting having looked a shade unlucky when beaten less than a length at Wolverhampton in January from a 2lbs lower mark. Cote D’Azur is a favourite of mine and a market move would be worth noting, but the vote goes to Mutasaamy (1.35) who has looked a reformed character since a gelding operation before his penultimate start.

There was much to like about the selection’s win from Stormbomber – a subsequent winner at Kempton on his last start, although he will have to improve again to get involved today, given he is 8lbs higher in the weights. He is out of an Oaks winner so the hope is that he will appreciate this stiff mile. He is one of just two runners on the card for Newmarket trainer Roger Varian.

In the first division of the six furlong Novice Stakes, I expect to see a bold bid from the newcomer Freedom Flyer (2.10) who will be the first runner from the yard of the father and son combination of Simon and Ed Crisford who now hold a joint licence. The selection cost 160,000gns as a yearling and is bred to make a sprinter. The booking of Silvestre De Sousa suggests a bold bid is expected.

The second division looks a better race and preference for the colt Art Power (2.45) over the filly Magical Journey is marginal. The selection shaped with considerable promise when third here on debut over six furlongs in September before hammering a decent field over the minimum trip at York the following month.

Magical Journey finished second in the listed Bosra Sham Stakes at Newmarket on her second start and was, arguably, unlucky to win given I felt she was carried across the track by the winner. I think she will get further than 6f this term although today’s deep surface will help.

The feature race is the mile-and-a-half handicap and Makawee makes her all-weather debut for David O’Meara. This stiff track should suit this half-sister to Prince Of Arran who finished runner up in the Northumberland Plate a couple of years ago. A market move would be worth noting.

Bo Samraan will have his supporters for Mark Johnston although I was disappointed with his run when third over today’s course and distance in April. He is a stone higher in the weights today on the back of wins on fibresand and soft ground last year but does rate a threat. The vote, however, goes to Good Tidings (5.05) who will be the first runner of the new campaign for John Gosden.

The four-year-old was last seen finishing last of nine at Chelmsford and he has been gelded in the interim period. His third at Kempton in a valuable handicap back in November reads very well in this contest and he did show he acted on today’s track when winning over course and distance the previous month. I think there is more to come from Good Tidings this term.

Thibaan is bred to be smart and looks sure to improve on his fourth at Kempton on his sole start over a mile in November. He is one of two runners on the card for Sir Michael Stoute, but he may have to give best to the filly Frankly Darling (5.40) who showed plenty of promise when runner up in a mile maiden at Yarmouth on debut. She is bred to appreciate todays extra couple of furlongs, and I hope it is a good afternoon for Gosden who, it is well documented, is not afraid to run some of his better horses at the track.

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