Our resident Trends guru Gavin Priestley has cast his eye over the runners in tomorrow’s big race “up north”.
Sat 26th June Newcastle 3.05 The Northumberland Plate, or the ‘Pitmens Derby’ as it’s known locally, is Newcastle’s most prestigious race and is steeped in history having been first run in 1833. It used to be horses coming from Royal Ascot that were the ones to follow here but with the advent of Summer jumping there has been a shift towards hurdlers winning the Northumberland Plate as 3 of the last 7 winners had a recent spin over obstacles before taking this race.
There are 20+ runners set to line-up this year for the £108,000 first prize and with some strong trends associated with the race we should be able to narrow that number down somewhat…
One trend that isn’t going to help us out this time is the age of the winner as in the last 11 years all age groups from 3-8 years old have won with the exception of those aged 5. We can however look at the weight factor and (taking into account jockeys claims) we see that over the last 13 years, twelve of the winners in this period carried 9-00 or less. Also, all 11 were rated 100 or less which seems to suggest that the top four in the handicap are going to struggle. Next we’ll look at recent form and see that 10 of the last 11 winners had finished in the top 5 last time out with all 11 winners having a top 5 finish in at least one of their last 2 runs.
Another interesting stat is that all of the last 11 winners had raced at least twice since March that year with 10 of those 11 having their last run within the last 38 days. This rules out a few including the Chester Cup winner Mamlook but, with it being over 30 years since the winner of that race followed up here, things weren’t looking good for David Pipe’s fancied runner anyway. With it being a 2 mile handicap, that is usually run at a decent pace throughout, it’s not surprising to note that 10 of the last 11 winners had won over a trip of 1m6f or further (over hurdles or on the flat).
What is also unsurprising, given the big field that the prize money attracts, is that 10 of those 11 winners had finished in the top 4 of a race with 17 or more runners. The ability to survive the hustle and bustle of such a fiercely competitive race while being able to stay the 2 mile trip has found out many a runner over the years. It’s also worth noting that 10 of the last 11 winners had run in at least a Class 2 race previously to contesting the Northumberland Plate and current favourite Deauville Flyer has yet to run in a race above class 3.
Finally, it may sound strange to talk about the draw for a 2 mile race but at Newcastle the start for their long distance races is very close to the first bend. This sees those runners drawn out wide having to rush up early to get a decent position and may explain why 8 of the last 11 winners (and 30 of the 44 win and placed horses) came from stalls 1-10. If we strictly apply the trends we’re left with a shortlist of three.
Scottish Champion Hurdle winner, Overturn, and Charlie Swan’s pair of Irish raiders, Rajik and Zaralabad. Of the three Rajik is the only one to be drawn low. Given that the shortest current price of these is Overturn @10/1, it may pay to back all three each-way and also place some fun sized bets on the reverse forecasts, as a 1-2 would provide a tidy profit to small stakes.
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