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News & Features

Northumberland Plate Runners – 50 in the Running for All-Weather Staying Showpiece

The feature race of the week comes in handicap company on Newcastle’s all-weather course on Saturday, with 50 runners still in contention for the Northumberland Plate. Run over 2m½f, it is one of the most testing handicaps of the entire season, with stamina at a premium.

Trueshan put up an exceptional performance to win this off an unthinkable 10st 8lb two years ago. Top-weight in this renewal is Tashkhan, who will not need to pull off such burden-bearing feats to claim this year’s race, though he has twice been placed in Group 1 races at Longchamp, and was third in last year’s Cesarewitch when also at the top of the weights.

The Chester May meeting features two staying handicaps which often serve as a precursor to this contest, and the winners of both the Vase and the Plate in Zoffee and Alphonse Le Grande are in contention to feature. Grand Providence may also line up having gone off favourite for the Vase. he has previous winning experience on the all-weather.

Sir Mark Prescott claimed his first Royal Ascot winner in 28 years courtesy of Pledgeofallegiance in the Ascot Stakes. His improving stayer will carry a 5lb penalty here, but is firmly on the up and could be joined by stablemate Trooper Bisdee, another improving long distance type, who escapes a penalty for a win at the weekend. True Legend is another confirmation for the yard.

There are quite a few entries towards the head of the market with strong recent form on all-weather surfaces; the likes of Duke Of Oxford, Prydwen and Spartan Army have all won multiple times on such a surface since last autumn. Meanwhile, the Irish challenge is set to be headed by Cathy O’Leary’s quartet as she takes the reign from her brother, the disqualified Tony Martin. The aforementioned Alphonse Le Grande is one, with Belgoprince, En Or and Firstman also set to play a part.