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Friday's All Weather Finals E/W Tips

Barry Hill gives us his All Weather Finals day Each Way tips from Newcastle.

1:53 Newcastle (AW) 

BetUK All-Weather Championships Marathon Handicap

PRYDEN - 9/1

Alan King has earned a reputation for his expertise with long-distance runners on the Flat, and his prowess is evident with Spartan Army, who leads the odds for the  13.53 at Newcastle. Originally transferred to King's stable from Joseph O'Brien for a hurdling season at the end of 2022, Spartan Army demonstrated potential by winning twice, though his real breakthrough came upon transitioning to synthetic tracks. With an unbeaten record of 3-3 on these surfaces, Spartan Army has surged 11lb in the handicap rankings to a score of 95, marking him as a contender not to be overlooked.

Nonetheless, if Spartan Army seems a solid bet, then PRYDEN, who finished just a neck behind in their last encounter and offers nearly four times the odds, might also warrant consideration. Trained by George Scott, this six-year-old had a successful 2023, improving over longer distances. Despite not yet securing a win at 2m, his recent close second represents a personal best according to Racing Post Ratings, indicating potential for further improvement. Prydwen boasts a strong all-weather track record, finishing in the top three in seven out of 11 starts and winning four, with his few setbacks typically following a break.

2:25 Newcastle (AW) 

BetMGM All-Weather 3 Year Old Championships Handicap

CROSS THE TRACKS - 11/1

The 14:25 appears to be anyone's race, and I'm tempted to take a chance on CROSS THE TRACKS, a dark horse in this competition. It's rare to see a horse that won as effortlessly as he did just two weeks ago going off at odds in the double digits next, especially considering that victory came in a far less competitive Class 5 handicap over 7f from a modest rating of 69. Despite this, Cross The Tracks had shown enough promise in his early career to be placed in a Group 3 race on just his second outing, despite long odds of 125-1. Following a period of underwhelming performances, his recent victory on this track suggested a significant turnaround, especially as it seemed he found his stride over 7f and a mile.

The shift to a shorter distance of 6f poses a new challenge, but given the pace set in his last race, he demonstrated his ability to dominate by the two-furlong marker. Should his affinity for Newcastle's Tapeta surface be the key factor, he might just be undervalued, especially with Sean Bowen helping to mitigate a portion of his 8lb handicap increase by 5lb.

3:00 Newcastle (AW) 

BetMGM Fillies' And Mares' Championships Handicap

ARAMIS GREY - 15/2

Nine Tenths and Shades Of Summer stand out as the leading contenders in the 15.00, but I find myself drawn to an each-way bet on ARAMIS GREY, who consistently delivers solid performances on the all-weather track. Despite not capturing many wins of late, Rae Guest's mare consistently competes in challenging handicaps and conditions races, often surpassing expectations despite not being favored to win. With a rating of 95, she has impressively secured second place against higher-rated horses like Annaf (rated 101), Queen Aminatu, and Mischief Magic, while also achieving a victory over Vadream . Her notable second-place finish to Queen Aminatu last year in this very race—under the training of William Haggas, who also trains this year's favorite, Nine Tenths—highlighted her capability, especially as she outran two rivals rated significantly higher than herself. This performance in her sole Newcastle appearance, coupled with a close second to Shades Of Summer four weeks ago after a nearly three-month break (now 4lb better off), suggests she's been finely tuned for a strong showing in this year's race.

3:35 Newcastle (AW) 

BetUK All-Weather Sprint Handicap

BILLYJOH - 20/1

The 15.35 is shaping up to be a standout event, with Cover Up entering the fray off the back of some easy victories in lower-tier competitions. However, moving up 13lb in a race of higher caliber, his current odds might not fully reflect the challenge ahead. Albasheer, on the other hand, has shown a remarkable affinity for Newcastle, clinching his last two races there.

The reduction in distance seemed to favor him significantly, unlike the runner-up BILLYJOH, who faced early setbacks but impressively secured second place, suggesting a potential for rapid improvement that could disrupt expectations. While Mick Appleby's Juan Les Pins might be considered a stronger prospect, having been stretched out to 1m4f last time merely to qualify for this event, Billyjoh has proven his worth by winning three of his last five starts, signaling a trajectory that could well surprise in this highly competitive field.