Northumberland Plate Tips: Mildenberger to claim valuable staying prize at Newcastle

Who can follow in the footsteps of Who Dares Wins, who won the race back in 2019.
Who can follow in the footsteps of Who Dares Wins, who won the race back in 2019.

Steve Chambers takes a look at the Northumberland Plate at Newcastle, and picks out his best bet for the staying showpiece on the all-weather...

Alan King elected to take Trueshan out of the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot last week, but the Barbury Castle handler will look to bounce back from that disappointment on Saturday when he saddles the classy five-year-old in the Northumberland Plate at Newcastle. Having been well fancied for the Group 1 marathon at the Royal meeting, Trueshan will instead take in one of the toughest handicap assignments on the UK racing calendar, and King's raider will have the burden of an extortionate weight to carry in what is a fascinating renewal.

He will have 10 st 4lbs to carry, but Rhys Clutterbuck will claim 5lbs off his back which will be a huge positive for those fancying the horse that sits at the head of the betting, at the time of writing. A sensational seven and a half length winner of the Group 2 Long Distance Cup at Ascot at the end of last season, Trueshan then kicked off this campaign with a decent second in the Ormonde Stakes at Chester. Excelling in testing conditions, Trueshan will now have to contend with the Tapeta for only the second time in his career, but his first effort on the all-weather ended in victory, as he beat last year's Northumberland Plate winner Caravan Of Hope at Wolverhampton in 2019.

Undoubtedly, the class act in the race, Trueshan is entitled to be a warm order, but with a whole plethora of notable staying handicappers taking their chance here, could there be a more attractive value play out there? I think so.

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Mark Johnston last trained the winner of the Northumberland Plate back in 1994 with Quick Ransom, but the Scottish handler will unleash a strong battalion at this year's renewal with five horses taking their chance for the legendary handler. Watersmeet finished fourth in this event back in 2018, but has failed to show his best over the last two years, while Lucky Deal failed to land any sort of blow in the Ascot Stakes and will need to recapture the form he showed when winning on the all-weather earlier in his career.

Two that catch the eye for the Johnston team are Mildenberger and Hochfeld. The former was scratched from the Queen Alexandra Stakes last week, so will line up here, and he was last seen on British shores winning a conditions stakes at Wolverhampton. Proven on the all-weather, Mildenberger will have a significant weight burden to carry, but he's a real class act on his day, and at double-figured odds looks to have a terrific chance of making the frame, at the very least. Hochfeld finished mid-division in the Copper Horse Stakes last week at Royal Ascot, so will need to build on that effort, but if he can hold a more prominent position through the early stages of the race then he could well be another Johnston-trained runner that can grab a place spot.

Second in that abovementioned Copper Horse Stakes was Dubious Affair, and Charlie Fellowes will quickly turn round the five-year-old, who is a prominent figure in the betting. The son of Frankel is due to go up in the weights in the future, so is eye-catchingly well in, and with him sure to improve for that comeback run then he has to be on the shortlist.

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Second in last year's Northumberland Plate, Australis will look to go one better in 2021, but he's 10lbs higher in the ratings this year, so will have a tough ask, while Joseph O'Brien's Grandmaster Flash has been soaring up the handicap in recent months, and failed to shine at Chester last time out, and is another that can be scratched off the short list.

Of the others, Rainbow Dreamer will add more depth to Alan King's team, and while he failed to figure in the Henry II Stakes last time out, he was a winner on his last appearance on the all-weather, so needs respecting, while the likes of recent York winner Nicholas T and the bottom weighted Just Hubert are worthy of a mention in what is an epic betting heat for punters to enjoy in the North East this weekend.

Northumberland Plate
Mildenberger silk

Mildenberger (EW)

lost
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