The Northumberland Plate was previously known as the "Pitmen's Derby" and it originally took place on a Wednesday afternoon. The race then switched to a Saturday afternoon feature in 1952.

Established in 1833, the Northumberland Plate is now one of the richest two-mile handicaps in the world.

Since 2016, it has been run on an artificial all-weather surface, Tapeta, having previously been run on turf.

Here is a runner-by-runner guide to the market principles at Newcastle:

 

Withhold

An easy winner of the Cesarewitch last autumn, Roger Charlton's runner has again been well backed to land another big Saturday staying race.

The five-year-old has been raised 12lb for that victory and plans are afoot for a Melbourne Cup raid should he run creditably in this.

 

Amazing Red

Ed Dunlop has yet to win the Northumberland Plate but there is every chance he could do so with Amazing Red who emerged victorious in the John Sunley Memorial Handicap at Newmarket last time.

He definitely handles an all-weather surface which is a big plus.

 

Dubawi Fifty

Karen McLintock’s five-year-old made much of the running in the Ascot Stakes under champion Silvestre de Sousa, before being caught late on by Lagostovegas.

McLintock reports he has taken those exertions well but you would have to have concerns about the 11 day turnaround.

 

Higher Power

The weights are headed by last year's winner, Higher Power, trained by James Fanshawe.

Higher Power beat Natural Scenery by half-a-length to win this 12 months ago and his run at Chelmsford last time was promising.

 

Natural Scenery

The Godolphin owned five-year-old is two from three at this track with his only defeat coming at the hooves of Higher Power.

Ran poorly at the Dubai Festival but the break should have freshened him up and he has gone well fresh before.

 

Dannyday

Sir Michael Stoute’s charge missed the whole of last year after winning the Northumberland Vase in 2016 and should be a strip fitter for a recent comeback run at Goodwood.

It is interesting that he missed an engagement in the Ascot Stakes in preference for this.

 

Lagostovegas

Royal Ascot heroine Lagostovegas is one of five potential runners for Willie Mullins as he looks to take his first Northumberland Plate.

Her yo-yoing price this week signifies just how uncertain punters are that she will actually line up on Saturday.

 

The Grand Visir

The Grand Visir is a son of racing royalty, Frankel. His win at Haydock Park last time out was only a narrow one but he looked well in command that day.

Trained by William Haggas, he is another runner who missed to Ascot Stakes in favour of this.

 

Financial Conduct

The four-year-old will be having his first start for David Simcock when he lines up at Gosforth Park on Saturday.

Financial Conduct has been plying his trade on the all-weather surface at Dundalk and has won three of his seven starts for his Qatari owners.

It remains to be seen whether the step up from 1m4f to 2 miles will suit him but Simcock must rate his chances of doing so.

 

Lord George

Lord George was just touched off by Funny Kid on All-Weather Championships Finals day and the plan has been to come here ever since.

The James Fanshawe trained five-year-old finished fourth in this last year from a bad draw so connections will be hoping for something a little more favourable this time.

 

Byron Flyer

He was badly hampered at Newmarket on his last outing but his run at Haydock the time before that was pretty encouraging.

His trainer Ian Williams tends to excel with these types of dual-purpose horses.

 

Euchen Glen

Euchen Glen was played late by Paul Mulrennan in the one mile five furlongs Sunsport Handicap at Ayr last time and looks to be horse on an upward curve.

Prior to that run he was a close third to The Grand Visir at Haydock Park.

 

Sir Chauvelin

Sir Chauvelin is another Jim Goldie entry and a cracking staying type.

He finished second to Dash To Spice in the Duke Of Edinburgh at Royal Ascot, overcoming trouble in running and has won here before.

If that last run has not blown him out he must rate as a big each-way chance.

 

Gustavus Vassa

The four-year-old was just denied in the Cork Derby last time out and Willie Mullins must have taken plenty of heart from that run.

He failed to land a blow in a couple of handicaps after joining  Mullins last year he has a few miles on the clock and may well exploit a handy handicap mark here.

 

Island Brave

The Heather Main-trained four-year-old has been in fine fettle since the start of the season winning three of his five starts.

He is a very gutsy sort but may just be in the grip of the handicapper now.

 

Laws Of Spin

Ran well down the field in the Cesarewitch and it is hard to get excited about his prospects here despite representing a top trainer.

 

Nakeeta

The globetrotting seven-year-old won the Ebor Handicap last year at York and ran a decent enough race in the Chester Cup last time out.

He was also fifth in the Melbourne Cup which proves his resolve is strong in a stayer’s race.

 

Watersmeet

He came ninth in the Chester Cup where he set the pace before failing to get home for the second year running.

Dropping back to two miles is a positive for this Mark Johnston trained runner and it would be folly let him get loose on the front or else they may fail to peg the grey gelding back.

888sport suggests: Watersmeet (e/w)

About the Author
By
Steve Mullington

Steven is a sports and horseracing enthusiast and is a member of the Horseracing Writers and Photographers Association (HWPA) in the United Kingdom.


He writes for a number of websites and online publications and you can sometimes hear him at the weekend discussing racing on a number of local radio stations. 

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