Northumberland Plate: Matt Brocklebank's five to watch ahead of the Newcastle feature

King's Advice winning at Goodwood
King's Advice winning at Goodwood

The Betfair Exchange Northumberland Plate Handicap at Newcastle is the big betting heat this weekend and Matt Brocklebank flag up a handful of interesting potential candidates.

Withhold - 10/1

Trainer: Roger Charlton

Form: 31/18-

Withhold pulled off a remarkable double in landing pretty significant gambles first in the 2017 Cesarewitch, before following up in his very next race in this event last summer, defying a 12lb higher mark in the process.

A tilt at the Melbourne Cup went awry after he suffered a burst blood vessel in his Australian prep race last October but trainer Roger Charlton reports him to be in good form and "an intended runner" this weekend.

The double-figure prices could be long gone when running plans are fully confirmed, especially with influential owner Tony Bloom also having Willie Mullins' Stratum to potentially to call upon, but fitness has to be taken on trust.

He's 8lb higher again for that impressive victory 12 months ago but doesn't look handicapped out of it by any means, with last year's runner-up Prince Of Arran going on to win the Lexus Stakes Down Under and finish third to Cross Counter in the Melbourne Cup itself.

Gibbs Hill - 9/2

Trainer: Roger Varian

Form: 1/131/

Roger Varian has enjoyed a phenomenal time of things since the turn of the year and landed a major gamble in the Wokingham Stakes with Cape Byron.

Roll on a week and the momentum is very much behind stablemate Gibbs Hill in the Plate, the grey having been backed into 9/2 from 16/1 despite not being seen in public for over 700 days.

He looked seriously progressive when taking a Kempton handicap (1m4f) by seven lengths from Zubayr on July 5, 2017 and while his record at Newcastle reads no wins from two starts, he wasn't disgraced on either occasion in his maiden campaign.

He's up near the top of the weights but is clearly a potential Group horse and we know he goes well fresh having won at Wolverhampton after 301 days off a couple of years ago.

Gibbs Hill
Gibbs Hill

King's Advice - 10/1

Trainer: Mark Johnston

Form: 111111

There was a feeling within the Johnston camp that King's Advice might have a few pounds in hand when arriving from Germany and being allotted a BHA mark of 71, but few could have expected six handicap wins on the bounce.

Not many horses have pulled off such a feat but the five-year-old has kept defying the assessor with victories up and down the land, both on turf and the all-weather tracks.

The move back to a mile and three-quarters helped him nose home from a mark of 98 at Goodwood last month and there's a strong chance he'll be capable of rating a little higher still now asked to tackle an extended two miles.

He's up to 101 so can't have a mass amount in hand but the son of Frankel was really impressive on the Tapeta surface at Wolverhampton in April and is likely to be given a bold sight from the front, tactics which have proven quite effective since Newcastle's change in surface.

Dubawi Fifty - 14/1

Trainer: Karen McLintock

Form: 11342-

Another horse returning from a long layoff, Dubawi Fifty hasn't raced since his fine second to Lagostovegas in the Ascot Stakes at the Royal meeting in 2018.

That came on the back of a fourth to Magic Circle in the Chester Cup but it's his record on all-weather surfaces which makes the six-year-old so fascinating.

He's won three times on Tapeta (two here, once at Wolverhampton) and his overall Newcastle record is brilliant, barely running a bad race from seven career visits.

The horse's last course outing yielded a half-length third to American Gigolo over the Plate trip and it's worth noting he was sent off 5/6 favourite from a mark of 96 that day.

He's up to 100 now but should have a nice racing weight if top weight Mootasadir or Johnston's Austrian School stand their ground, while he'd be 10lb better off with Withhold for an 11-length defeat (when fourth) in the 2017 Cesarewitch, should both horses take their chance.

Time To Study - 14/1

Trainer: Ian Williams

Form: 09-883

Time To Study's last creditable effort for Mark Johnston came in this race last year, when beaten just over eight lengths into sixth behind Withhold, but his Ascot performance last week hinted at a resurgence.

Having just his third public outing for Ian Williams at the Royal meeting, the five-year-old boxed on bravely after being headed in the Ascot Stakes, finishing a four and three-quarter lengths third to stablemate The Grand Visir.

Four of his five career wins have come on turf but a record of one win and one second from four all-weather starts reads pretty well and from a handicapping perspective he's dead interesting here from a 12lb lower mark than last year.

Kerrin McEvoy is already booked for the ride and it looks a nice move from Williams, who won the Plate's consolation race in 2017 with London Prize and has also taken major staying Flat prizes recently with the likes of Magic Circle, Gold Mount and the aforementioned The Grand Visir.


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Tuesday's racing preview

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The Nap of the day runs at Ayr2

Daily Nap: House party

David Ord is in the nap hotseat on Tuesday and fancies a Mark Johnston runner to strike as he steps up to two miles.

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