Freezing conditions are never a concern for the all-weather tracks in Britain and Robbie Wilders from the Racing Post provides three selections on the Newcastle synthetic surface on Sunday.
There are plenty of exposed older horses lining up in the opening 1m4½f handicap (12.08) and it might be worth turning to the relatively low-mileage three-year-old Selfish Brian for Nigel Tinkler.
Selfish Brian has recorded two of his three best performances on Racing Post Ratings on the all-weather and both of those came in November on his two starts after joining Tinkler, with two decent fourth-placed efforts at Wolverhampton over contrasting trips.
1m1½f seemed too sharp for Selfish Brian in the first (a race in which he was denied a clear run) and 1m6f looked too far in the second, so this intermediate distance should be perfect.
Despite dropping 2lb in the weights recently, the son of Shalaa appears to have regained his appetite for the game since switching stables and can go close with a bit of luck off 1lb lower than his last winning mark.
There are a few potentially well-handicapped juveniles in the 7f nursery (12.38) but Camusdarach might be the answer from stall one.
Camusdarach has improved with each start on RPRs and returns to the course and distance in which he ran third behind two particularly promising and well-bred sorts on his second outing.
His latest effort in a Lingfield maiden when he almost managed to make all from stall ten at Lingfield over a mile suggested it is only a matter of time before he breaks his duck, and dropping back a furlong should be no issue.
The son of Footstepsinthesand is related to two top-class horses who ran to an RPR of 110 or higher, and a mark of 72 might be on the soft side for his fourth run and first in a handicap under Jason Hart for Charlie and Mark Johnston.
The Class 4 1m4½f handicap (1.38) looks a penalty kick for the bang-in-form David O’Meara-trained Barenboim if he can replicate the form of his last-to-first success at Kempton four days ago.
David O’Meara is a dab-hand with new recruits and Barenboim is 3-5 for the stable after never finding a winning touch for Michael Bell and then Fergal O’Brien over hurdles.
However, he has turned a corner for new connections and the application of a hood has perhaps been the primary reason for Barenboim’s recent successes.
The Golden Horn gelding retains the aid at a course he clearly likes (one win and a second here) and has proved his ability to handle quick turnarounds in the past.
He scored at Chelmsford two days after running here in November.
Bugle Major and Qaasid are reasonable threats having produced decent efforts in defeat lately, although they surely aren’t quite as well treated as my selection, who ran to an RPR of 91 last time and can take this en route to better things under a 5lb penalty off 83.