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the northumberland plate history winners and recent trends sport preview

The Northumberland Plate – History, Winners and Recent Trends

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The Northumberland Plate

Once Royal Ascot has passed, the next stop on the Racing Flat season is always the Northumberland Plate meeting at Newcastle. Run over an extended 2-mile trip, this is one of the first staying handicaps to be open to 3-year-olds, as well as the older horses and it has become one of the richest handicaps held in the European Flat season.

Race History

First run in 1833, the race was initially held on Town Moor before being switched to the current racecourse at Gosforth Park in 1882. The race was originally run on a Wednesday to coincide with a public holiday held for the local coal miners, giving the race its popular nickname, “the Pitmen’s derby”. When the miners’ holiday was cancelled in 1949, the race was switched to its current Saturday slot in 1952. Perhaps the most significant change to the race came in 2016, when the turf track at Newcastle was replaced with Tapeta, which made the Plate the most valuable race in Europe to be run on an Artificial surface.

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The Northumberland Plate – Famous Winners

The competitive nature of the staying handicap division has meant that there have been very few multiple winners of this race.

Underhand, who won the race for 3-years in a row between 1857 to 1859 has the best record in this race, although Tug of War went close to matching that feat when he won in 1977 and 78. The race also boasts an impressive roster of winners, perhaps most notably Lily Agnes, considered one of the greatest Broodmares of the nineteenth century, who went on to win a Doncaster cup and Ebor after winning this race and is best remembered as the Dam of Ormonde and Ossory. She won in 1874 and 3-years later another superstar of the age, Hampton, added his name to the roster, winning on Town moor as part of an incredible winning sequence that included the Goodwood and Doncaster Cups and the Queens Plate in the same season.

In more recent years the race has been won by some progressive horses on their way to the top, including the 1997 Ascot Gold Cup winner Celeric (1996) and the 2006 Prix du Cadran winner Sergeant Cecil (2005) who also won both the Ebor and the Cesarewitch in the same season.

Last Year’s Winner – Trueshan

We wanted to give a special mention to last years’ winner of this race, Trueshan. Trained by Alan King, he defied all the statistics against him to win this race 12-months ago on a handicap mark of 120, carrying 10-8 on his back. Despite the recency bias, this is one of the most remarkable weight carrying performances of all time, made even more remarkable because he was beaten in the 2021 race on a lower mark of 118.

The Northumberland Plate – Recent Trends

Although the 3-year-olds receive an allowance, they do not have a very good record in the race, with just 3 wins since 1985, the last of which came in 2001 when Archduke Ferdinand triumphed under Franny Norton. Since the race switched to an artificial surface, it has exaggerated the need for a good draw. Since 2016, 6 of the 7 winners were drawn in stall 7 or higher and only one horse drawn in stalls 1 to 6 has managed to finish in the first 4 (Antiquarium, winner in 2016 from stall 3). Four of the last 7 winners had won last time out, whilst every winner since 2016 had finished in the first 4 on their previous start. The race has been relatively kind to punters in recent years, with 5 winning favourites since 2012.

This years’ race is due to be run at 2:05 on Saturday 1st July. Don’t forget to check out our YouTube and Social Media channels for our teams thoughts on the race.


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