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Special Features

The Northumberland Plate – Part One Of Our Runner-By-Runner Guide

Northumberland Pret

Saturday sees the all-weather come to the fore, as Newcastle hosts the Northumberland Plate, one of the most reputable handicaps of the season. We go into detail on all 20 runners for this year’s race, with the first ten below. Read our thoughts, alongside 888sport‘s exclusive sign-up offer of Bet £10 and Claim £40 In Bet Bonuses.

Trueshan (Alan King, Hollie Doyle) 13/2

Exceptional stayer, who has shot to the top of that division since sixth in this last year. Was seen as a surprise when he competed off a mark of 118 in 2021, even with a 5lb claimer on, so now he is rated 120, and with Hollie Doyle aboard, he will be defying all sorts of handicapping rules here. 10st 8lb is some burden for a flat horse to carry, though he is possibly an even better horse this time around. Concedes 19lb and more all round, but could well prove that far ahead of this field.

Red Verdon (Ed Dunlop, Ben Curtis) 28/1

Nine-year-old who was a Group 2 winner as recently as June 2020. Also won a Listed race over 2m last year, though has found life at Pattern level over middle distances difficult this term. Well-beaten on last two handicap starts, but was only narrowly beaten off 104 on the all-weather when making his yearly return in April. Strike rate in terms of wins and each-way places is better on artificial surfaces despite racing for the majority on turf and not ruled out from a big run.


Rajinsky (Hugo Palmer, Harry Davies) 9/2

One of many to join Hugo Palmer from Tom Dascombe recently. Began life for new yard in fine form, winning at Ripon over 2m from recent Royal Ascot scorer Get Shirty, then ran a bold race under Davies when third in the Chester Cup. That form has been franked by the first two and this six-year-old is only up 1lb for that run. Davies now claims 2lb less though and did have the perfect draw that day, while 101 still represents a career high mark. Third off 8lb lower a year ago and not the most convincing of the favourites.

Alright Sunshine (Keith Dalgliesh, Billy Garritty) 16/1

Respectable efforts this term, including when a fine fourth at Royal Ascot recently. Had been placed at both Musselburgh and Haydock over 1m6f and upwards prior to that, having been down the field at Kempton on return. That form is worrying though, as it continued a poor record of four unplaced efforts in four all-weather starts. Consistent enough if he can carry over his form, but others easier to prefer.


Rainbow Dreamer (Alan King, Kevin Stott) 12/1

Could find himself as his stable’s afterthought despite his all-weather specialism. Has seven wins from 16 starts on that type of surface and victory over Earlofthectoswolds at Wolverhampton in January reads very well. Since behind that rival over course and distance, and only 15th in this a year ago, but is now 12lb lower having largely maintained his form. Had a wind operation in April and will have to prove he is ready on his first run after that, but will be running on at the end of this.

Island Brave (Heather Main, Benoit De La Sayette) 16/1

Benoit De La Sayette’s 5lb claim is of obvious benefit here. Is another who has a better strike rate on the all-weather, while he is also 1lb below his last winning mark from last September. Lost his form in Meydan and well-beaten back in British handicaps the last twice, though he was not disgraced at Royal Ascot when not getting a clear run. Fourth a year ago off 2lb higher than this rating, so should have a few things in his favour. However, he does have a bit to prove on form.


Bandinelli (Charlie Appleby, Tom Marquand) 12/1

No-show the last twice when returned to turf, which does raise a few doubts. However, has won 50% of his races on all-weather tracks, including twice over 2m at Kempton. Neither was by a wide margin, but he ground both successes out well and shaped as if more were to come. Could now show that back on the tapeta at Newcastle, but this is also significantly harder than the two handicaps he won. Probably needs a little more to be considered a likely winner.

Spirit Mixer (Andrew Balding, Callum Hutchinson) 9/1

Big improver for Andrew Balding since June 2021. Had gone up 31lb in the handicap since then, due to five victories in ten starts. Three of those have come this term, with the most impressive of those coming at Chelmsford. Has since gone in again at Chester and strongly looked like he would get further. Only fourth at that north west venue again recently, but should not have been favourite given he had the widest draw and duly paid the price for Hutchinson’s inability to get him in. Nevertheless retains potential to improve further off this mark as a four-year-old and is one worth considering.


Themaxwecan (Charlie & Mark Johnston, Jason Hart) 28/1

Nearly last in this a year ago, but did win on his only other all-weather appearance. That was a long time ago though and form this season is patchy at best. Yet to get within eight lengths of a winner in three starts in 2022 and though he ran okay in the Ascot Stakes over 2m4f, it did not hint that he was especially well-treated. Mark is only 1lb above his last winning one, but is an outsider in name and nature.

Tribal Art (Charlie & Mark Johnston, Joe Fanning) 20/1

Winner on two of his three starts at Kempton and Wolverhampton, so knows how to operate with this kind of underfoot. Very consistent this season, following up his Wolverhampton win with form of 323, the latter two of which provided defeated of less than a length. His seventh in the Ascot Stakes over 2m4f was a very solid effort too and though a mark of 96 might prove slightly difficult to win off, it would be no surprise if he was bang in with a chance turning for home.


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