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Northumberland Plate Trends – Stats and Selections for Staying Handicap Showpiece

The Northumberland Plate has provided a memorable summer moment in the flat racing world in the last few seasons. With plenty still in the reckoning for the 2024 renewal, Dave Young is back to analyse the key stats and trends.

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One of the most valuable 2-mile flat handicaps in the world, The Northumberland Plate is always deep full of entries ensuring that the final field have rightfully earned their place, usually over many years. Despite that depth, we’ve seen 5 of the last 12 favourites land this race and you can throw in two second favourites to suggest that the winner of this race is findable.

I’ve looked at the last 10 renewals and believe that by using the following 10 trends, which are tiered by importance, I’ve found a handful of runners, two of which appear to be grossly overpriced.

  • 9 of the last 10 winners had run that season (6 more than once)
  • 9 of the last 10 winners had at least placed last time out
  • 9 of the last 10 winners had 10 or more flat runs
  • 9 of the last 10 winners had 1 or more run at 2m+
  • 9 of the last 10 winners had NOT won a group race
  • 8 of the last 10 winners had 3 or more flat wins

10-Year Trends 2nd Tier

  • 7 of the last 10 winners were aged 4-6
  • 6 of the last 10 winners were rated 89-99

10-Year Tends 3rd Tier

  • 5 of the last 10 winners were sent off SP favourite
  • 5 of the last 10 winners carried 9-1 to 9-5

Whittling down the confirmations

Using the 1st Tier trends we can bring the final 50 confirmations down to 11 runners but that’s still a fairly long short list which is why I’ve looked into some 2nd Tier and 3rd Tier trends. These are still relevant as they have numbers behind them, however they’re a little more niche which means we’re going to have fewer in this bracket regardless.

After applying the trends from the 2nd Tier we’re left with 4 runners and while we don’t know for certain what the final weights will be it’s something we can use at final declarations to work through these final four with just 3lbs separating the group. We also don’t know for certain who is going to be sent off favourite, however right now PLEDGEOFALLEGIANCE is the short-term ante post bet at a general 8/1.

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FINAL FOUR – (Top prices correct as of 25th June 2pm)

PLEDGEOFALLEGIANCE

Really could end up being the horse who ticks all of the boxes and while coming to the conclusion that the favourite has the best chance might seem a bit of a waste of time, we’ve seen bad favourites over the years given they didn’t tick the ‘other’ boxes. So, while it’s always nice to land a big priced winner, the conclusions drawn from this are using the trends as an overall which is why I’ve not just left PLEDGEOFALLEGIANCE in, there could be some value in those near misses, or even market support to bring another to the head of the market by off time

ONESMOOTHOPERATOR

Realistically, it’s only ONESMOOTHOPERATOR who is likely be vying for favouritism from our final four should he see some support. Brian Ellison’s charge has placed top 3 in 16 of his 24 All-weather starts. He’s twice won at this track however at this trip he’s placed just 3 times from 7 starts, which isn’t terrible, but after the strike rate I mentioned, maybe this distance is his undoing. He was sent off 10/1 for this two years ago when Trueshan put in an incredible weight-carrying performance but there is at least a glimmer of hope as he was a short head second in a Class 2 handicap here off 89 back in 2022 but does race here now off a 4lb higher rating

SOLENT GATEWAY

Another runner from the 2022 edition and SOLENT GATEWAY was under 2 lengths third to Trueshan off the same mark of 90 he’ll race off here. He underwent wind surgery not long after and then in 2023 managed to pick up 2 wins, both at this trip and one being his first All-weather victory. Lighter campaign this year, much like in 2022 where he had just 3 runs prior to this race and comes in now off the back of 4 runs. The last of those in Haydock when second to Divine Comedy showed much more positively about his ability having posted three pretty lowly figures before then. That has helped reduce his mark from 95 to 90 so coming in with good form and good previous in this race, I can’t help but think he’s overpriced, and I think others might think the same too

SPIRIT MIXER

Incredibly, SPIRIT MIXER is now 8lbs lower than when splitting Solent Gateway and (you guessed it) Trueshan in the 2022 renewal. He’s run in three of the same three races at Solent Gateway before they went the separate ways last time out, but he too has reduced his mark; from 98 to 89 this year alone. Showed a bit more last time out and clearly likes it here and specifically this race to have finished so close in 2022, going down by half a length, on his first look at the track. Another who looks to me to be an obvious shortener although his current form is more questionable than Solent Gateway’s.

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