Northumberland Plate Tips: Pin your colours to the Rainbow

Who Dares Wins was a game winner of last year's Northumberland Plate.
Who Dares Wins was a game winner of last year's Northumberland Plate.

Nick Seddon previews Saturday's Northumberland Plate at Newcastle, which looks a particularly wide-open heat, and picks out his best bet in the race...

While a host of races have been forced to either move from their traditional slots or even be cancelled completely, the Northumberland Plate remains in its traditional position, and rather mercifully as far as locals will be concerned, doesn't have to deal with the prospect of competing with a Newcastle United fixture. 

As usual, this looks a wide-open heat, and the market is headed at the time of writing by the improving Australis, who represents the Roger Varian team. The four-year-old proved to be a consistent type at staying trips last season, winning once and hitting the frame in the remainder of his five outings, and he looked an improved model when winning comfortably over a mile and three quarters on reappearance at Wolverhampton this month. He still looks to be particularly well-treated off an official mark of 86 after a 5 lb rise, and bearing in mind that there should be more to come from him yet now stepped up to two miles, he has to be high on the shortlist. 

Rather surprisingly, Mark Johnston hasn't won this race for almost 30 years, since striking with Quick Ransom in 1994, and he sends two this time around in his bid to put that stat right, King's Advice and Anyonecanhaveitall. Like Australis, the latter is also a four-year-old, though has considerably more experience, winning three times from six starts at staying trips last term - including over course and distance in September. He only just failed to hold off a well-handicapped type on return at Pontefract earlier this month, and he ought to put in a bold bid from the front.

Meanwhile, King's Advice recorded a scarcely believable eight wins from his first nine starts last season - with his only defeat coming in this race - and although he has some smart handicapping form to his name at his peak, his mark looks steep enough at present. 

Five four-year-olds have won this race since the turn of the century, and three more who fit that particular bill are Just Hubert, Caravan Of Hope and Rajinsky. The last-named raced just three times as a three-year-old, winning twice, most recently over a mile and three quarters at Wolverhampton in December. He could only finish third on reappearance at Newbury earlier this month, though that start came over a mile and a half, and he shaped well over an inadequate trip. Indeed, he should be suited by the step up to two miles, and there could be more to come off his current mark.

Meanwhile, Just Hubert was a three-time winner last season, including over this trip at Musselburgh, but he has been lacklustre in each of his last three outings, including on reappearance last time out, and has something to prove at present. 

More interesting is Caravan Of Hope, who is closely matched on form with the favourite Australis. He signed off with a brace of wins at Ascot and Doncaster respectively last autumn, and shaped particularly well off his revised mark of 85 at Wolverhampton last time, just being edged out at the line. He was travelling noticeably better round the bend that day, seemingly just being caught out for a lack of race sharpness late one, and there could be more to come from him now returned to two miles. 

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Three more to consider are Magic Circle, Carnwennan and Smart Champion. The first-name is a veteran in this sphere, winning the Chester Cup and the Henry II Stakes inside of a month back in 2018, though he's struggled with injuries since, and has made the racecourse on just four occasions. He would have claims on his very best form, but you'd be taking his fitness on trust, and his official mark of 108 looks tough enough on his first start for Richard Fahey.

Carnwennan was a decisive winner over course and distance here last June, and although he hasn't won since, he can't be discounted for his on song yard, who enjoyed an excellent time of things at Royal Ascot last week. Lastly, Smart Champion also has a course and distance victory under his belt, and although he ran with plenty of credit to finish fourth in the Ascot Stakes last week, he looks to be in the grip of the handicapper now, and this is a big ask quickly turned back out.

Instead, it could be worth siding with Rainbow Dreamer, who has a fine record on the all-weather and represents a trainer in Alan King who won this last year with Who Dares Wins. The seven-year-old enjoyed a productive time of things around the turn of the year, winning four times in succession at staying trips on the all-weather, and performed with plenty of credit when an excellent fourth in the Group 3 Sagaro Stakes over course and distance earlier this month. That form was given a timely boost by the winner's excellent run to finish second in the Ascot Gold Cup itself, and Rainbow Dreamer is interesting now returned to handicap company. His mark of 107 will make life tough, but the Alan King team is enjoying a tremendous run of form at the moment with their stayers, picking up three valuable wins at Royal Ascot, and Rainbow Dreamer is fancied to prove himself a pattern performer by taking this. 


Northumberland Plate - 15:35 Newcastle, Saturday 27th June - back Rainbow Dreamer at 8/1


Northumberland Plate
Rainbow Dreamer silk

Rainbow Dreamer

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