WICK Powell is expected to be considerably sharper than on his last start when he reports for duty at Newcastle today.

The three-year-old colt is a lovely horse, and earned connections a good few bob as a juvenile after having finished runner-up in a big sales race in Ireland.

He then considerably added to the kitty with a determined success in the Listed Two-Year-Old Trophy at Redcar last October.

Little wonder, then, that the vibes were positive at Southwell in January for his return to the fray.

Wick Powell was sent on his way the 11-10 favourite, but he did not quite pick up as might have been expected and could only finish third behind Gracious Tom.

Trainer David Barron (pictured) will not have been too down in the dumps, though, as that was a competitive enough starting point on his first start for a good while.

There is also the suspicion the five-furlong trip might have been a touch on the sharp side for him, too.

His trainer seems to be thinking that way, at any rate, as Wick Powell steps back up to six furlongs for the 32Red Casino Handicap.

Some interesting horses have been declared at Gosforth Park, but the son of Sakhee's Secret looks the one to be with.

Forest Angel can inflict weight and a beating upon her 11 rivals in the 32Red.com Handicap.

The grey daughter of Grey Angel faced some stiff tests in her juvenile campaign, but she did not show up too badly at all in two hot maidens at Newmarket.

She then raised her game again over eight and a half furlongs at Wolverhampton in February, when only beaten a length and a quarter by the useful-looking Dark Titan.

Trainer James Tate has made the intriguing decision to revert to seven furlongs with Forest Angel, which is a ploy that should work as she is seemingly not devoid of a gear or two.

See Vermont should be trusted in the Betway Handicap.

The Rebecca Bastiman-trained nine-year-old's best days are probably behind him, but he is definitely capable of winning a small prize like this off a lowly all-weather mark of 57.

See Vermont has actually been in reasonable form this winter and was an eyecatcher at Wolverhampton last month when he missed the break yet still finished third in a five-furlong sprint handicap.

That should set him up nicely for this, while it is reassuring to see the exceedingly capable Danny Tudhope keep the faith.

Barton Rose could take an awful lot of stopping at Leicester.

The eight-year-old mare, trained by Charlie Longsdon, radiated with health over this this course and distance on February 16, when she trounced a fair field by upwards of 10 lengths.

Barton Rose has been thumped by the assessor ahead of the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry Handicap Chase, but she clearly enjoys running in deep ground and should be strong enough to overcome that burden.

Though she should not be knocked off her stride by stepping back up in trip later in the season, there are more two-mile races to be won with her.

Longsdon will have high hopes she can neatly illustrate the point at Leicester.

Elkstone finished second to Barton Rose on his last visit to Leicester and can go one place better in the Leicestershire And Derbyshire Yeomanry Handicap Chase.

The Caroline Bailey-trained six-year-old was no match for the Longsdon inmate, but he still shaped with a degree of honour from the front.

Elkstone is still a maiden after five tries over fences, but he runs at Leicester off the same handicap mark.

He also proved at Huntingdon earlier in November, when he fell three out in quite a commanding position, that the step up to two and a half miles should hold no terrors.

Trainer Donald Whillans will no doubt expect a big show from Tomahawk Wood in the extended two-and-a-half-mile handicap hurdle at Ayr.

The unexposed eight-year-old chestnut won so well over course and distance in January that he is almost impossible to ignore off a 7lb higher mark.

Any further rainfall will not be an issue, either.

Keep close tabs on Ardkilly Witness in the two-mile novice hurdle at Sandown.

Alan King's five-year-old was only outmuscled by High Bridge at Newbury last month, which was far from a disaster as that rival will be quietly fancied at the Cheltenham Festival next week.

Ardkilly Witness will not be heading to the Cotswolds, but he can deliver the goods in Esher, even in spite of having to shoulder a penalty for his game Towcester triumph in December.


AYR: 2.10 Culmination, 2.45 Vertigo, 3.20 Tomahawk Wood, 3.55 Deepsand, 4.30 Transient Bay, 5.00 Gold Opera, 5.35 Another Mattie.

LEICESTER: 2.20 Bivouac, 2.55 Ballinvarrig, 3.30 Barton Rose, 4.05 Elkstone, 4.40 Darwins Fox, 5.10 Glendermot.

NEWCASTLE: 5.45 Blushing Red, 6.15 Forest Angel, 6.45 WICK POWELL (NAP), 7.15 Kiwi Bay, 7.45 See Vermont, 8.15 Jet Setter.

SANDOWN: 2.00 Centurius, 2.30 Azzerti, 3.05 Ardkilly Witness, 3.40 Kayf Adventure, 4.15 Rock On Rocky, 4.50 Mr Clarkson.

DOUBLE: Wick Powell and Forest Angel.