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Northumberland Plate Preview

Morning all,

Inside today’s main piece, I look ahead to the weekend’s big races, in particular the Northumberland Plate at Newcastle. Plus, I look at a couple of today’s races including the Carlisle Bell (2:55) which is the oldest sporting trophy in the world, having been first run for in 1599.

Looking ahead to the weekend

It’s Irish Derby Weekend and the three-day Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby Festival gets underway on Friday evening.  The big race is at 3:45 and ITV will be broadcasting the race live as part of their Saturday afternoon programme.

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Aidan O’Brien after much speculation on Monday did supplement Oaks winner Tuesday for the Irish Derby and will be ridden by Ryan Moore.  Her presence means either O’Brien doesn’t think the colts he’s got entered are good enough or he really rates the filly.  Nashwa’s win in Sunday’s French Oaks has given the Epsom a race a nice boost so maybe it’s the latter.

Westover is the ante post favourite after his eye-catching second in the Derby earlier this month. It was announced yesterday that Colin Keane will take over in the saddle from Rob Hornby. It looks a bit harsh on Hornby. However, given Keane’s extensive knowledge of the Curragh it makes sense.

In more Irish Derby news. The David Menuisier trained colt Lionel takes his place in the line-up and Jamie Spencer who rode him to success at Goodwood last time has been booked.

In addition to the Irish Derby. There’s another ‘Derby’ taking place on Saturday at Newcastle.  

The Northumberland Plate was known for many years as the “Pitmen’s Derby”. As the local miners would flock to the track in their thousands to watch the race on what was a local holiday.  The mines have long gone but the race is a small reminder of the areas industrial and working-class heritage.

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Newcastle’s Northumberland Plate Meeting which gets underway on Thursday also features a couple of Group contests: The Group 3 Hoppings Fillies' Stakes (7.10) on Friday and the Group 3 William Hill Chipchase Stakes (2.25) on Saturday.

Northumberland Plate (Handicap) – Newcastle

The weights for the race are headed by top stayer Trueshan.  The 6-year-old who was forced to miss the Ascot Gold Cup on account of quick ground will have to defy a welter burden of 10-8 if he’s to claim the prize. He finished a 3 ¾ length 6th in last year’s race, off 2lb lower so you can see the task in front of the Alan King trained gelding if he’s to claim the winners first prize.

Last year’s third Rajinsky looks set to take his place in this year’s.A winner at Riponon his seasonal return. He’s since finished a 1 ½ length 3rd of 14 in the Chester Cup. The 6-year-old finished ¾ length in front of Trueshan last year. However, he meets the King horse on 6lb worse terms this time around.  Trainer Hugo Palmer is hoping that Harry Davies who rode him in the Chester Cup will once again be able to 5lb off the geldings back.

Others at the head of the ante post betting include Onesmoothoperator and Valley Forge. The first named is trained by Brian Ellison who would dearly love to win the race. He had the runner-up in 2016 and Onesmoothoperator has got solid course form, including over C&D, and has yet to finish outside the first three on his six runs here.

Valley Forge improved for the step up to 2m for the first time when winning at Haydock last month. Unexposed as a stayer. He’s yet to race on the synthetics but on pedigree there’s no reason to suggest he won’t handle it.

Cool lively outsider for inform Chapple-Hyam

One at big odds who interests me is Uber Cool. The Jane Chapple-Hyam trained 8-year-old returned from a massive 959-day absence to win at Chester last May and went onto run well on subsequent starts including when a 4-length 2nd of 9 to Rajinsky at Ascot in October. He gets a 10lb pull in the weights with that one here if he runs. We haven’t seen the 8-year-old since he was last of six at Kempton last November. However, as he showed last season, he can win fresh. He's generally 33/1 but you can get 40/1 with Coral. I have no idea if runs but he’s very much on my shortlist if he does.

Wednesday Racing

An Irish Oaks Trial (7:10) is the feature race of a seven-race card at Naas. This side of the Irish Sea and there are competitive cards at Carlisle and Salisbury.

Carlisle hosts its best flat meeting of the season. The highlights include the Carlisle Bell (2:55), the Cumberland Plate (3:25) and the Listed Eternal Stakes (3:55).

On a busy day there’s also jumps action from Worcester and evening flat fixtures at Bath and Kempton.

2:55 – Carlisle Bell Handicap (Class 4) – 1m

A competitive looking renewal of this historic race. Makeen won here last time over 7f. He stays a mile so the return to today’s trip won’t be a problem. He’s ground versatile and the 5-year-old has only had seven starts on turf and although he has an 8lb rise in the weights to contend with he won with plenty in hand last time and is going the right way.

David O’Meara has a couple of contenders in Pisanello & Arranmore. Pisanello a close 3rd of 15 in the Thirsk Hunt Cup bounced back to form when dropped back into this class when a 2 ½ length 2nd of 13 at York 11-days ago. Looks sure to give another good account although stall 13 might not be ideal. Arranmore hasn’t been at his best on either start this season, but he shaped a little better at Beverley last time. His form figures over C&D are 112 and he goes well on a sound surface. Ryan Sexton takes off a handy 5lb and he’s down to a good mark, but he’s drawn widest of all though which is a concern.

Cassy O, a useful handicapper winning twice last season bounced back to form when ¾ length 2nd of 6 over C&D two starts back and then went one better when making all at Redcar just 5-days ago. Needs to force the pace and will face competition for the lead here. Has a 5lb penalty to carry but given his present form he’s got to be considered seriously.


3:15 – The best quality handicap of the day. Richard Hannon saddles the 3-year-old’s Rousay & Windseeker. The latter won here over 7f on his seasonal return and although he’s unproven over a mile he goes well on good to firm ground. Rousay finished runner-up on her seasonal reappearance here (7f) and improved again when a 2 ¼ length 3rd of 11 at Goodwood last time (soft). Both Hannon runners are at an early stage of their careers and could be capable of better.

Variyann was a ½ length 2nd of 12 to Johan in this race last year off 4lb lower. However, he only beat home one rival on his first start from 12 months at Epsom earlier this month. Dubai Mirage doesn’t have the best of win strike rates. Just 1-16 on turf and is on a bit of a losing run and looked a tricky ride last season. However, the top-weight can’t be faulted on last two efforts. Finished runner-up at Meydan and was a 3-length 2nd of 6 to Dark Shift at Nottingham last month. The winner has since gone onto win the Royal Hunt Cup at Ascot, so he was taking on a well handicapped horse that day.

Selection: 1pt win – Dubai Mirage – 4/1 – Gen.

Good luck with your Wednesday bets.


2 thoughts on “Northumberland Plate Preview”

  1. I like learning new things so to be told about The Carlisle Bell and it’s historical significance gets a thank you from me.

    Also, great tip.


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