Validus can validate return

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Validus can amply make up for an enforced hiatus by winning the Betfred TV Seaton Delaval Handicap at Newcastle.

The four-year-old is well liked by trainer Luca Cumani, having been campaigned in the Autumn Stakes as a juvenile and in Listed company last November.

He had a rather chastening experience on his return in April at Epsom, though, as the gelded son of Zamindar suffered bad interference at an important time and was shuffled back into sixth spot in a valuable handicap.

Cumani has given him plenty of time to recover from those exertions, in which he was left with cuts to three of his legs, and has found him an eminently winnable encounter at Gosforth Park. Validus has very few miles on the clock for a four-year-old, yet already has a rating of 101 and is clearly still improving.

Despite being lumbered with top weight, he should be better than most of these as he returns to a trip over which he has twice gained handsome victories.

The feature race of the day at Warwick, the EBF Stallions/Arkle Finance Eternal Stakes, should see Winning Express tower over her rivals. Ed McMahon’s filly has already posted form which is just short of top class and can pick up this Listed prize before better things.

Runner-up in last season’s Group One Cheveley Park Stakes, the daughter of Camacho has since finished in the money in the Nell Gwyn and the 1000 Guineas.

The worth of this year’s Classic at Newmarket already looks pretty impregnable given the subsequent performances of Just The Judge and Sky Lantern.

It is perhaps interesting that McMahon won this race last year with Radio Gaga.

Sir Pedro is also respected in the Patersons of Greenoakhill Handicap at Hamilton. A first-time hood at York revitalised the four-year-old, who finished a six-furlong handicap with plenty of zeal to get to within a neck of Noverre To Go.