• Christopher Loader

Northumberland Plate 2019 Preview

Updated: Jun 28, 2019

Hello Everyone!

This is my first blog on my website and this is something I have been planning to do for a while, as I have always had an interest in getting involved with written journalism but have not got around to it. I have often been asked to write about tips and cover big race previews and that is what I am going to this with my thoughts on Saturday’s Northumberland Plate.

The Northumberland Plate is Newcastle’s feature race of the season at the all-weather track.  The prestigious race is an ultra-competitive handicap and is contested over 2 Miles. Often horses that win the race have progressive staying profiles but have had mixed careers afterwards. The most recent high class winner was Roger Charlton’s, Quest For More. He went on to achieve Group One Success in 2016 winning the Prix Du Cadran at Chantilly in 2016. This is something to keep in mind when scouring through the entries in this race.

The Roll of Honour shows the winners of this race between 2009-2018 to get an idea of some of the top jockeys and trainers in this race as well as looking at the performance of favourites.

As the table highlights some shrewd combinations have won this race in recent times. Favourites have an adequate record with 3 winning favourites in the last decade. On the other hand from looking at the winner’s position in the betting market they have been in a prominent place with Tominator being the biggest price at 25-1 in 2011.

When it comes to this year’s renewal Gibbs Hill have been the ante-post gamble of the week for Andrea Atzeni and Roger Varian and is now a clear favourite for the race being 7-2 in places. Varian’s stable have been in terrific form so far this season and he has a good record with these kind of horses that are lightly raced, older horses. Rated 105 by the handicapper this would be a training masterclass as we have not seen Gibbs Hill on course since winning at Kempton in July 2017. It’s very difficult to assess his chances with such a long layoff but you have to respect his connections pitching at this level on his return. However because he is too short now he has to be opposed.

Withhold who won this race last year, unfortunately was ruled out this morning after scoping dirty and was aiming to be the first horse to complete back-to-back victories since 1978. However his owner Tony Bloom has another dart to fire with Stratum who is trained by jumps maestro Willie Mullins. Stratum hasn’t been since on the flat for a while but did win over hurdles at Ballinrobe last month. Any Mullins runner must be respected in a stayers race like this but I am not sure if he well treated off a mark as high as 102. Bartholomeu Dias is a likeable contender for Charlie Hills and has probably been the target since his course win in April which has been franked, he also holds a Group 1 entry in the Goodwood Cup. Despite this I have concerns over his stamina to see out his trip and he won’t make my shortlist.

When it comes to my selections for the race I will be backing two on the day. The first one that takes my fancy is Time To Study for Kerrin McEvoy and Ian Williams. This horse ran creditably in the race to finish in 6th place when trained by Mark Johnston in 2018. By this time last year he had several hard races running in Group and Listed Company. He was given a handicap mark of 108 in last year’s race and tomorrow he sneaks in at the bottom of the weights being rated 96. Last time out he finished 3rd in the Ascot Stakes at Royal Ascot bouncing back to form. This year I think Ian Williams has him spot on for the race and has only been seen three times in 2019 since transferring to his yard. I think he has many things going for him tomorrow and has to go well at a massive Each Way price.

The other horse that catches my eye is the ever consistent Who Dares Wins for Tom Marquand and Alan King. Even though age is slightly against him being a seven-year-old he always runs a solid race and has been threating to win a race of this nature for some time. He ran very well to finish 2nd in the Chester Cup behind Making Miracles in May from a difficult draw. A strong traveller with plenty of stamina will suit him well at a track like Newcastle where it pays to often be delivered as a late as possible with its long home straight. Even though he is will be running of a career high mark of 101 I think we haven’t seen the best of him as in the last two years he has been lightly raced. I think again like Time To Study he has to go well at decent Each Way odds.

Northumberland Plate 2019 Tips

Time To Study EW 16/1 (Bet 365)

Who Dares Wins EW 14/1 (Coral)

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