The Northumberland Plate is a flat handicap race open to thoroughbreds aged three years or older. It is run at Newcastle over a distance of two miles and nineteen yards and is scheduled to take place this Saturday 30 June. It’s the highlight of the racing calendar at the North East course.
The event was established in 1833, and the inaugural running was won by Tomboy. It was initially held at Town Moor, and it was part of a meeting first staged at Killingworth in 1623. It was transferred to its present venue at Gosforth Park in 1882.
The Northumberland Plate originally took place on a Wednesday, and for many years the meeting was a holiday for local mine workers. The race became popularly known as the “Pitmen’s Derby”. The meeting ceased to be a holiday in 1949, and the race was switched to a Saturday in 1952.
The Northumberland Plate is now one of the richest two-mile handicaps in the world. It has been sponsored by John Smith’s since 2003.
The current favourite for the race is the Donald McCain trained Il De Re. This horse was the winner of the Chester Cup last time out, beating his stablemate Overturn by a length and three quarters.
This race has not been won by a horse carrying more than 8st 11lbs since 2002 and one horse who comes into this category is Motivado. He was fourth in a mile and three quarter handicap at Haydock at the end of last season.
Gulf Of Naples is another fancied runner is sure to attract some support. He finished fourth in the Gold Cup at Ascot last time out and was third in the Chester Cup behind Il De Re earlier in the season.
Deauville Flyer finished third in this race last year and will be at the right end of the weights, but he looks exposed this time around.