One of the most competitive handicaps of the season – The John smith’s Northumberland Plate – comes from Newcastle tomorrow and it will be an historic day at the North East track.
This is always a big day for the racecourse, but this year will be the first time the Plate is run on the new all weather tapeta surface. There had been mixed reviews about the decision to dig up the turf and put the sand down, but what Newcastle have now is the best all weather track and surface in the country and this should be a thrilling race.
20 runners will head to post and compete over two miles in this £150,000 race and the favourite in the betting is Steve Rogers at 7/1 for Roger Varian and Andrea Atzeni.
This horse was a very good winner over two miles at Kempton on seasonal reappearance and was then sent off a 7/2 favourite for the Chester Cup last time out.
The five-year-old was well beaten on that day, but you can often forgive a horse a poor run at Chester and there’s every chance Varian’s charge is ahead of the handicapper.
The surface will be no problem and the track should suit. Despite being found in the market, Steve Rogers does make plenty of appeal.
Nakeeta was only beaten a short head in the Chester Cup and is at 8/1 here for Iain Jardine, who is proving himself to be a very capable and shrewd trainer.
This five-year-old seems to be improving all the time and relished that step up in trip last time out.
If handling the surface, he’s sure to go close.
You can get 9/1 about Seamour, who was sixth at York last time out and has failed to win in all three of his recent races, which have been on this mark of 99.
However, the horse should prefer this surface here for top northern trainer Brian Elision.
Seamour was sixth in this race last season and might be able to go closer here, but does need to improve.
Polarisation doesn’t have the best of draws, but does look to be in with an excellent chance for Charlie Appleby and James Doyle.
This four-year-old was second at Epsom last time out and that was a cracking performance.
He’s off a mark of 97 here, which could prove to be a decent one and this step up in trip should suit. He has plenty of room for improvement.
It’s then 12/1 about Gang Warfare, My Reward and Gabrial The Hero. Of those three, My Reward might be the most interesting for an in form trainer in Tim Easterby.
He has a cracking draw in stall number two and won over this trip last time out.
It’s then 16/1 and over about the rest of the field.
We’ll take two against the field here and think both POLARISATION and MY REWARD can run big races.