Northumberland Plate Betting

The three-day meeting called the Northumberland Plate is one of the major fixtures of the Newcastle racing season. It takes place each year in late June or early July. On the final day, the card features a Heritage Handicap race covering two miles and 19 yards from which the meeting takes its name, the Northumberland Plate, making this one of the true highlights of the British flat racing season. Indeed, with a total prize purse of £150,000, it is one of the richest two-mile handicaps in the world open to Thoroughbreds aged three years or older.

The Town Moor hosted the very first recorded Northumberland Plate in 1833, when it was won by an entry named Tomboy. The most successful stayer ever to run here was Underhand, pulling off a hat-trick of victories in 1857-59. Also ranked among the greatest winners of the 19th century was Hampton, a bay stallion that succeeded here in 1877 before going on the capture the Goodwood Cup, Doncaster Cup and Queen’s Plate, followed by the Epsom Gold Cup in 1878.

In 1881-82, the race venue was shifted to the left-handed turf of High Gosforth Park. Soon after, in 1883, the mighty Barcaldine won the Northumberland Plate as his final victory in an undefeated career of thirteen starts.

For much of its history, the Northumberland Plate was conducted on a Wednesday. It became a local holiday for mine workers in the area, which earned it the nickname “Pitmen’s Derby.” In 1949, the meeting ceased being a holiday, and three years later it was rescheduled to its current Saturday position.

For more than a decade up to 1998, sponsorship of the Northumberland Plate was in the hands of Newcastle Brown Ale. From 1999 to 2002, Foster`s Lager held the title role. Then in 2003, John Smith’s became the primary backer of the event and has remained so ever since.

Only two jockeys have managed to score multiple victories in the Northumberland Plate since 1985. Willie Carson earned a pair with Al Maheb in 1990 and Celeric in 1996. Then Kevin Darley added two wins of his own aboard Far Cry in 1999 and Bay of Islands in 2000.

Among trainers, Paul Cole has chalked up three triumphs here. His first came with Windsor Castle in 1997, followed immediately by Cyrian in 1998 and then Archduke Ferdinand in 2001. Martin Pipe is the only other trainer with more than one win, schooling the 1991 winner Tamarpour as well as the 1999 victor Far Cry.

The oldest entry of the past decade to succeed in the Northumberland Plate was Mirjan at age eight in 2004. The youngest was Archduke Ferdinand as a three-year-old. In the last dozen outings, four-year-olds and six-year-olds have each won four times, while one seven-year-old has been successful—Arc Bleu in 2008. No five-year-old has been triumphant here since Witness Box in 1992.

In the late 1980s, three favourites finished first, but only three more have been able to reach the winner’s enclosure since then—Celeric at 2/1 in 1996, Far Cry at 9/2 and Juniper Girl at 5/1 in 2007. On the other hand, two horse rated at 33/1 have paid out in recent years—Mirjan followed by Toldo in 2006. The 2011 winner Tominator came close to that level, delivering at 25/1/

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