REDCAR stages its first meeting of 2023 on Easter Monday and the opening contest on a competitive eight-race card has an eye-catching royal link in coronation year.

The Welcome Back To Redcar Racecourse Novice Stakes features a promising colt called Theme Park, which was among a batch of horses owned by The Queen and sold by King Charles after her death last year.

Theme Park, by French Derby winner, Lope De Vega, was trained at Newmarket by Sir Michael Stoute as a two-year-old, winning at Kempton on his second start. He was sold for 200,000 guineas at the Tattersalls Horses in Training Sale in October and is now with Nigel Tinkler.

The colt will be ridden by Rowan Scott and it will be interesting to see how he shapes up on his first run for his new Malton yard. However, it looks a competitive affair, with John and Thady Gosden’s Freedom Day among the leading lights, along with Tim Easterby’s Mahanakhon, and Richard Fahey’s Old Smoke who has shown promise in two placed runs on the all-weather at Newcastle.

Another North Yorkshire trainer, Roger Fell, teamed up with five-pound claimer Jonny Peate for a winner on the opening weekend of the turf flat season at Doncaster when Harswell Duke won the Pertemps Network Spring Mile. The combination will be a popular choice with Ustath in Redcar’s second race, Division One of the Tony Dyson Memorial Handicap. The gelding has been busy on the all-weather, winning back-to-back races at Southwell in January, and has fitness on his side. However, Ustath is well exposed and the danger is Jim Goldie’s Scottish raider Bonito Cavalo who should relish the extra furlong judged by the way he finished over five furlongs on his last run of 2022 at Musselburgh.

The Ruth Carr-trained Hard Solution appeals in Division Two, having shown a liking for Redcar previously. Now a seven-year-old, Hard Solution won on his debut at Redcar in 2019 and won again at the track in 2021 (see below). He ran some good races in defeat last season, without winning, and that’s put him on an attractive mark for this campaign.

Tiger Spirit (pictured below) was a 20-1 winner of the marathon Better Value With Racecourse Bookmakers Handicap over one mile eight furlongs a year ago, and the mare – trained in Lincolnshire by Michael Herrington and ridden that day by Jason Hart – aims for a repeat. However, she carries four pounds more this year and Jason Hart rides Zephlyn, trained in the Scottish borders by Ewan Whillans. The gelding ran on late to be second over two miles at Newcastle, in March, and clearly enjoys extreme distances.

Gorak ploughed through the mud at Doncaster at the start of the month to win by five-and-a-half lengths and Charlie Fellowes’ Newmarket raider will be a popular choice to follow up with the strong assistance of PJ McDonald in the Flat Is Back On Racing TV Handicap.

Former Ayr Gold Cup winner, Bielsa, trained near Thirsk by Kevin Ryan, lines up for the Market Cross Jewellers Handicap. Now an eight-year-old, the gelding is another to have won at Redcar on his debut back in 2018 (pictured below). He’s on a nine-run losing streak since winning the Ayr showpiece in 2021 and he’s on a very winnable mark if he can regain his old form.

Ryan also has a live chance in the following Woodsmith Construction Handicap with Camacho Star, who has the benefit of a recent run on the all-weather at Newcastle when he was a decent second.

Redcar’s first meeting of 2023 rounds off with the Watch Race Replays At Handicap, which looks a good opportunity for Cheyenne Nation (pictured below), trained near Darlington by Michael Dods.

The son of Bungle Inthejungle was a strong-finishing second over five furlongs at Thirsk last week and should relish the extra furlong under Connor Beasley, who has enjoyed plenty of success in the same colours on stable stars Dakota Gold and Commanche Falls.