The feature race at Newcastle on Saturday is the Northumberland Plate Handicap (15:35), and Dubawi Fifty looks cracking each-way value at the 14/1 on offer with Betfair in a typically fierce and wide-open renewal of the historic 2m contest.
This tough and consistent six-year-old has an impressive 38.5 per cent strike rate since joining trainer Karen McLintock, having won five of his 13 starts.
He has also made the frame on five occasions. The son of Dubawi also has proven course form having won twice and been placed twice in four runs at the venue.
After landing back-to-back contests at Ayr and Nottingham in the summer of 2017, Dubawi Fifty ran very well to finish fourth of 34 to Withhold in the 2m 2f Cesarewitch at Newmarket.
He got outpaced three from home after being held-up, before rallying and staying on strongly to be nearest at the finish and beaten 11 lengths.
It was a good effort – given how the race panned out – and he has looked as good as ever last year, winning twice on the all-weather before finishing a half-a-length third to American Gigolo over this course and distance.
Good record fresh
Dubawi Fifty also ran a cracker on his penultimate start when fourth to Magic Circle in the Chester Cup, racing a shade too keenly but holding every chance two from home before weakening late on to be beaten 7 1/2 lengths.
He went on to round off the campaign with a fine length second of 19 to Lagostovegas in the Ascot Stakes at the Royal meeting off a mark of 97.
That was a career-best performance and a 3lb rise in the weights looks fair, so a revised rating of 100 does not look beyond Dubawi Fifty.
The gelding does have an absence of 373 days to overcome, but that should not be an issue as he has a good record fresh and has won off a lengthy lay-off in the past.
This is also sure to have been the target for some time and the booking of Luke Morris to do the steering for the first time is an eye-catching one.
So, taking everything into account, Dubawi Fifty looks to have lots more going for him than his odds would suggest. He is each-way value in a race where bookmakers pay extra places.
Irish raider Stratum a key player
Stratum is the sole representative for top Irish raider Willie Mullins who has a good record in big staying handicaps in the UK.
This six-year-old is owned by big gambler Tony Bloom and made a total mockery off his handicap mark when sluicing up in the valuable 16-runner JLT Cup over 2m at Newbury 11 months ago.
After being held-up in midfield by Robert Winston, Stratum scythed through the pack from the two marker to take up the running inside the last and surge clear slamming Kloud Gate by three lengths.
He won going away with tons in hand, so this was a stunning performance which suggested he was well ahead of the assessor.
Although raised 8lb for it, Stratum ran very well of his revised rating of 102 when 12th of 20 to Muntahaa in the valuable Ebor Handicap at York.
While he was eventually beaten just over nine lengths, the son of Dansili ran far better than that suggests as he encountered a troubled passage on the inside when trying to make a move from off the pace two from home.
Stratum also got badly hampered inside the last and was unable to recover and allowed to come home in his own time once it was clear he would not be winning.
Judged on that, his current rating of 102 should not beyond him and he comes the race on the back of a win over hurdles at Ballinrobe last month which should have put him cherry ripe.
Mullins has clearly laid out Stratum for this and a bold bid looks assured. He can be backed at 10/1 with William Hill.
Gibbs Hill bidding to land gamble
There has been a huge ante post plunge on the Roger Varian trained Gibbs Hill, who is 4/1 favourite with Ladbrokes to make a winning return to action after a mammoth spell on the sidelines.
This six-year-old is very lightly-raced for his age having run just seven times – winning three and finishing in the frame on every other occasion.
Gibbs Hill was last seen in action at Kempton back in July 2017 when quickening clear to land a seven-runner 1m 4f contest by seven lengths off a mark of 94.
There was no doubting that the son of Mastercraftsman was very impressive that day, but he has been raised a whopping 11lb as a result.
A revised rating of 105 looks high, but Gibbs Hill remains open to improvement and could arguably be a pattern performer in the making.
However, he may well have to be just that to overcome an absence of 724 days to win a race of this tough nature.
Another big concern is that Gibbs Hill now steps up significantly in trip having never raced over further than 1m 4f.
So, taking everything into account, there are enough question marks to suggest that Gibbs Hill is worth taking on at the odds on offer.
Proschema another with a shout
In a race in which a case can be made for most, Proschema, looks weighted to go well on the pick of his form and is this another worth considering each-way at 14/1 with Coral.
This Tom Dascombe trained four-year-old won his first two starts last season in the manner of a useful prospect.
He went on to run a cracker when staying on strongly to finish a never nearer 1 1/2 lengths third of 16 to the progressive Ghostwatch in the Melrose Handicap over 1m 6f at York off a mark of 100.
Proschema has had just three starts this season and shaped nicely on the second of those over 1m 4f at York when a 5 1/2 lengths eighth of 18 to First Eleven in a hot renewal of the Jorvik Handicap.
The son of Declaration Of War was then stepped back up to 1m 6f at Newmarket earlier in the month, and ran really well when sticking to the task and finishing a 1 1/2 lengths third to Red Galileo off a rating of 103.
He has since been dropped a further 2lb and now meets the winner on 6lb better terms, so that should be more than enough to see him turn the tables on that rival.
Proschema appears to be building up to a big performance and he appeals as the type that could have more to offer now stepped up in trip.
Jane Elliott also takes off a handy 3lb with her claim and Proschema is a rare runner at the track for Cheshire-based handler Dascombe, who has saddled two winners and had three placed from his last eight runners at the time of writing.