GRACIOUS John is fancied to add to his tally in what looks a strong renewal of the Betway Conditions Stakes at Newcastle.

With a total prize fund of £30,000 up for grabs in the main event on a strong all-weather card at Gosforth Park, seven high-class sprinters will do battle over the straight five furlongs and none are in better form than David Evans' charge.

The gelded son of Baltic King has a fine record on artificial surfaces, winning five of his 12 starts and being placed on a further three occasions.

He is back to a career-high mark of 110 following recent triumphs at Lingfield and Wolverhampton and is well treated by the conditions of this race.

It is not a straightforward task, with Caspian Prince, Final Venture and Blue De Vega all worthy opponents, but all of those are returning from absences of at least a month, whereas Gracious John is fit and firing having run just 11 days ago and that could give him the edge.

Paddyplex should go well in the opening Betway Casino Handicap.

The Keith Dalgleish-trained gelding showed precious little in three bumper appearances, but has been much more at home since being dropped in trip on the Flat.

He made a successful start to his change of codes on fast ground at Ayr in the spring and proved he is just as effective on the Tapeta when following up on his return at this venue in November.

Given that was his first appearance in six months, he is entitled to strip fitter for the outing and there is plenty of scope for improvement.

Heaven's Guest can rediscover the winning trail in the Handicap.

Richard Fahey's inmate has been a magnificent servant over the years, with two valuable handicaps at Ascot and a Listed race in Ireland among his nine wins.

He has endured a lean spell having not struck gold since the summer of 2015, but his rating has dropped accordingly and he races here from a perch of 85 compared to his last winning mark of 103.

His recent second over this course and distance suggested his turn was not far away and this looks a fine opportunity for him to go one better.

Conditions at Ayr will not be for the faint hearted, but that should not trouble Niceandeasy in the Handicap Hurdle.

The son of Kalanisi has won a Newcastle bumper and twice over hurdles at Hexham so far, all in testing ground.

He scored with plenty in hand on his latest appearance in early November and an opening mark of 117 looks more than fair.

Niceandeasy steps up to three miles for the first time and providing he stays the trip he can keep his unbeaten record intact.


AYR: 12.30 Caventara, 1.00 Niceandeasy, 1.35 Le Gavroche, 2.10 Lochnell, 2.40 One For Harry, 3.10 Charlie Snow Angel, 3.45 Hangard.

NEWCASTLE: 3.35 Paddyplex, 4.10 Thello, 4.40 Heaven's Guest, 5.10 GRACIOUS JOHN (NAP), 5.40 Completion, 6.10 Fast Track, 6.40 Shades Of Mist.

DOUBLE: Gracious John and Heaven's Guest.