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Dear My Friend bidding to complete four-timer on Finals Day

3 minute read

The Charlie Johnston-trained Dear My Friend will bid for a fourth-straight success in the BetMGM All-Weather Championships Mile Handicap at Newcastle this afternoon.

Trainer : CHARLIE JOHNSTON Picture: Steve Hart

Highly tried on the turf following an impressive display in the Listed Burradon Stakes on this card twelve months ago, Dear My Friend has been in unstoppable form since returning to the all-weather over recent months, winning three consecutive races to set up a tilt at this valuable mile handicap prize.

The classy four-year-old looked like a reformed character on his first outing after undergoing a gelding operation in October, taking out a competitive handicap at Newcastle on New Year's Day before going on to land the Listed Tandridge Stakes at Lingfield the following month.

Victory in the BetMGM AWC Mile Trial Handicap at Lingfield earlier in the month would ensure his place at the head of the market in Newcastle's Good Friday finale and connections couldn't be happier with the Middleham Park-owned son of Pivotal, who will attempt to carry 10-1 to victory under Joe Fanning.

"He has been a revelation since we gelded him and cleared up his wind. I think that big, long stride seems to be particularly well-suited to the all-weather and he has literally been imperious this season," said Middleham Park's Tim Palin.

"He has gone up a lot in the ratings and, as the saying goes, 'weight stops trains', and it could be that the pesky handicapper is his nemesis on Friday. At the moment, I would not swap him for anything."

Standing in the way of a fourth consecutive victory is a whole host of challengers, including the Yann Barberot-trained Fast Raaj, who makes the journey across the Channel having shown some classy form in France.

"Fast Raaj has run well at Chantilly, Deauville and Cagnes-sur-Mer, so we decided to seize the opportunity to run, as he qualified for this race," said Barberot.

Whilst a proven performer on the all-weather in his homeland, Fast Raaj is yet to tackle a straight mile, an area trainer Yann Barberot admits is a question mark for his consistent six-year-old.

He added: "He has never run over a straight mile, so that is a question mark, but he's a good horse who adapts well to all-weather surfaces. He has the right profile to be competitive in the race."

Dear My Friend is a general 3/1 chance to land the Good Friday finale at Gosforth Park this afternoon, with the French raider Fast Raaj 9/1 to take the spoils back across the Channel.

Racing and Sports

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