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INSIDE TRACK WITH JAMES ARMSTRONG - JUNE 2017

Thu, Jun 29, 2017

The Betfred Northumberland Plate Festival gets underway this afternoon (29 June) with the £35,000 Seaton Deleval Handicap today’s feature race. However, it is Saturday’s Stobart Rail Northumberland Plate which forms the centre-piece of three days of high quality horse racing on Tyneside.

The Plate has been an annual event since 1833, when Tomboy took the inaugural running of the race. Nowadays, the two-mile contest has a total prize fund of £150,000 with the 2017 race the first to be run under the sponsorship of Stobart Rail.

Last year, the Charlie Appleby trained; Godolphin owned Antiquarium was victorious in a thrilling finish with Seamour. Seamour represents Newcastle born trainer Brian Ellison. Brian was born on Northumberland Plate day in 1952, and has held a lifelong ambition to win the race, so it is anticipated that Seamour will return in a bid to go one better this year.

There are a number of notable entries for this year’s race, and the current favourite is the Sir Mark Prescott trained Flymetothestars. This fast improving Sea The Stars gelding has only raced four times during his career, but has already registered a pair of successes here on Tapeta. Furthermore, he proved that he stays this two-mile trip when winning over course and distance in May.

Whilst the final entries will not be confirmed until 11am on Thursday, those horses who unfortunately don’t make it into the final field of 20 runners will have the consolation of being able to compete for the Betfred Northumberland Vase.

The inaugural running of the Northumberland Vase in 2016 went to the Sir Michael Stoute trained Dannyday and this most valuable ‘consolation’ race carries a total prize fund of £75,000. Other feature races which take place on Saturday include the £70,000 six furlong, Group 3 Chipchase Stakes.
The Class 2 Betfred Gosforth Park Cup is a popular local highlight of our Friday Evening fixture. A total prize fund of £45,000 is on offer for this traditionally fast and furious five furlong contest.

The race went to the ultra-progressive Orion’s Bow in 2016, and we should spare a thought for his trainer David (Dandy) Nicholls who very sadly passed away earlier this month. ‘Dandy’ was a masterful trainer of racehorses, sprinters in particular, and his other past winners of the Gosforth Park Cup include Rudi’s Pet (1999), Peace Offering (2006) and Buachaill Dona (2008).

In addition to the fabulous racing on offer during the three-day Betfred Northumberland Plate Festival, we’re delighted to have UB40 playing live after racing on Gosforth Park Cup Night (30 June). As is tradition, the Plate Festival will be once more be one of the summer highlights of the North East social calendar, and we look forward to welcoming racegoers, both new and regular, to Newcastle Racecourse. Further details on how to book tickets are available at: www.newcastle-racecourse.co.uk.

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