Northumberland Plate Handicap Preview

By Samantha

Big race action come from Newcastle in the form of the Northumberland Plate. Raced over two miles, this race has attracted a good field.

It is a huge contrast to the feature race of last Saturday, the fifth and final day of Royal Ascot, which was the Diamond Jubilee Stakes over six furlongs. It was won by Blue Point, completing a historic double with the King’s Stand Stakes. In the next race, the Wokingham, there was a big move on Cape Byron, one of Roger Varian’s, and he subsequently won. This has also happened on one of Varian’s other horses in this particular race. Gibbs Hill, a six year old son of Mastercraftsman, is three from seven in his career but hasn’t been seen for 724 days. He was 20/1 with some bookmakers on Saturday but is now as short as 7/2. The longest trip he has won over is one mile four, which he did very easily. This is a completely new trip for him and is a huge ask for him after such a long absence.

Time To Study, trained by Ian Williams, ran at Royal Ascot last week in the Ascot Stakes on day one. He was a fast-finishing third and it appeared from that a victory is immanent. He’d ran twice for the Williams yard before that and come eighth on both occasions. He looks very eye-catching off bottom weight with talented, in-form jockey Kerrin McEvoy on board. Williams also has Speedo Boy and Shabeeb. The former is a good dual purpose horse and followed in Red Galileo over one mile six last time. He was well beaten at Chester in horrible conditions behind Making Miracles before that. He gets 11lbs and 10lbs from them respectively. Shabeeb was pulled up in the Chester race but that was his new yard. He won over one mile six furlongs in May 2018 and will be fresher for this.

Mark Johnston has a few in the race – Making Miracles, Austrian School and King’s Advice. The former wouldn’t be a shock winner as he won the two miles two Chester Cup by six lengths. That was on soft but he handles good going nicely. One of the best training performances of the season so far is Johnston with King’s Advice. He’s won all of his six runs and steadily improved as he went up in trip. He won by a nose, extremely gamely, over one mile six last time. He may struggle with the extra distance but if he is ridden more conservatively he should stay. Austrian School is a half brother to Tiger Roll. He won the Queens Cup at Musselburgh at the start of the season and probably didn’t handle conditions next time. He was third in a group three on his next start but he was fourth in an Ebor trial where he folded tamely.

Owner Antony Bromley won this with Withhold last year, who hasn’t been seen since and was a late non runner for this renewal, and has Stratum this year. His Dansili gelding was last seen winning a hurdle race at long odds on. His last flat run was in November 2018 when 14th. His trainer Willie Mullins primarily deals in National Hunt horses and the same can be said for Who Dares Wins’ Trainer Alan King. The horse was second to Making Miracles in the Chester Cup and, on his penultimate start, was third in a handicap at Newbury. Slight ground worries.

There are a few four year olds running in the race that I haven’t previously mentioned – Aircraft Carrier, Mootasadir, Proschema and Bartholomeu Dias. Proschema steps up to two miles after a decent third behind Speedo Boy and Red Galileo last time. He finished eighth in the St Leger last year. Aircraft Carrier finished last in the Yorkshire Cup last time and sixth in the All-Weather Marathon Championship so he needs to improve but won three races on the trot over this sort of trip from December 2018 to January 2019 and was previously with Aidan O’Brien. Mootasadir was last seen finishing unplased over at Belmont Park at the start of the month. He has done most of his winning at shorter trips and has top weight. Bartholomeu Dias won over one mile four last time and is trying this trip for the first time.

Red Galileo is the oldest in the field aged eight. The Dubai gelding won smartly last time, beating Speedo Boy and Proschema with Cohesion a non runner. He’s done most of his running in Meydan recently. Cohesion is one of the outsiders as he has been last on his last three runs including once over this trip. Another of the less fancied runners is Cosmeli, who won the consolation race twelve months ago. He hasn’t won since and is 2lbs higher.

Desert Skyline won the Doncaster Cup as a three year old in 2017 but is yet to win since. He ran into Stradivarious and ended up fifth on his first start this term before finishing fifth in an Ebor qualifier ahead of Austrian School and ahead of Making Miracles. He needs to step up. Fearsome was last seen fifth of five at Sandown in a group three. He followed in Mootasadir in March but completed a four timer over one mile and a half at the start of the year. He has won over two miles over hurdles so will stay.

Last but not least is my selection DUBAWI FIFTY. This horse is one of my favourite flat horses. He hasn’t been seen since coming and agonizingly close second in the 2018 Ascot Stakes after making virtually all of the running, with Stratum behind, for Karen McLintock. The yard deserves a big win after some rotten luck. He won twice at the start of 2018 and I don’t think the break should be too much of an issue for him.

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