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3pm, Newcastle, Saturday, June 26, 2004


3.00pm, NEWCASTLE, SATURDAY, JUNE 26, 2004

£180,000 John Smith's Northumberland Plate (Heritage Handicap) 2m

Going - Soft, heavy in places

BP = at the time of writing but for the best current odds go to www.BritOdds.com (Click on link above)

1) (16) 4-01 Barolo Peter Harris 5-9-10 Jimmy Fortune
Improving performer who won well last time out at Goodwood. However, he will need to show even greater improvement if he is to score over this distance on ground as soft as this as he has yet to tackle two miles or going like this.
BP = 8/1

2) (7)-501 Swing Wing Paul Cole 5-9-08 Joe Fanning
Trainer has a good record in this contest and this one is a good performer on his day, as he showed when winning a Listed race in Italy last time. Has generally not looked up to winning competitive handicaps but acts on soft ground.

BP = 20/1

3) (10) 2-11 Anak Pekan Michael Jarvis 4-9-04 Philip Robinson
Much improved performer this season with wins in the Queen’s Prize at Kempton and in the Chester Cup. Has risen accordingly in the weights but loves this ground and is open to further improvement. There is better value to be found elsewhere though.

BP = 3/1

4) (18) 3-01 Collier Hill Alan Swinbank 6-9-04 Robert Winston
Likes this ground and won well over 12 furlongs at Hamilton last time. The down side is that this distance has often stretched his stamina in the past.

BP = 28/1

5) (2) 458/ Self Defense Patrick Chamings 7-9-03 Frankie McDonald(3)
Useful hurdler at his best, particularly on his favoured soft ground. A slightly quirky performer and looks to have plenty of weight on his first Flat start since August 2002.

BP = 40/1

6) (4) 4-33 Silver Gilt NON-RUNNER

8) (12) 1d11- Jagger Gerard Butler 4-9-00 Gary Stevens
Stable has finally hit form and this one could be one of the most progressive performers in the field. The unknown is whether he can handle ground as soft as this plus he has yet to tackle two miles and this is his first start of the season.

BP =8/1

9) (11)72-7 Mamcazma David Morris 6-8-12 Michael Tebbutt
Fair stayer at best but didn’t show much in this race last year and the soft ground may be against him.

BP = 33/1

10) (6)6-07 Rayshan Howard Johnson 4-8-12b1 P Mulrennan(5)
Fair performer in Ireland last season and won over hurdles this winter. Showed little on two runs on his two outings on the Flat this season but was badly handicapped on the first of them and the second was in a 12-furlong amateur event. Maybe still needs to come down in the weights but has some sort of chance,
BP = 40/1

11) (8)3-03 Defining James Fanshawe 5-8-12 Oscar Urbina
Stable in good form and showed he is suited by some cut in the ground when winning at Newmarket last season but he has yet to show he stays beyond 12 furlongs.

BP = 16/1

12) (13) 3-42 Distant Prospect Andrew Balding 7-8-11 Richard Hills
One of the assured stayers, having landed the 2001 Cesarewitch. Goes on soft ground and will be suited by this testing track. Has a solid chance in a race full of imponderables.

BP = 8/1

13) (19) 3422 Pagan Dance Amanda Perrett 5-8-09p Tony Culhane
Yard coming back to form and ran really well when second over 12 furlongs at Royal Ascot last week. Has shown ability to handle soft ground and no forlorn hope.

BP = 22/1

14) (14) 2136 Red Lancer Richard Price 3-8-07 Michael Fenton
Won Group Three Chester Vase earlier this season and two fair efforts since at Goodwood and Royal Ascot. Handles ground but this is a tough race for a three-year-old.

BP = 28/1

15) (15) 6186 Jorobaden Chris Wall 4-8-06 Jimmy Quinn
Won heavy ground handicap at Kempton in early May over 14 furlongs but well beaten on two starts since and hard to enthuse about.

BP = 33/1

16) (17) 20-3 Zibeline Brian Ellison 7-8-06b Franny Norton
Consistent performer who has taken third spot in this race for the past two years. Should run his race again but ideally prefers faster conditions.

BP = 18/1

17) (20) 1-82 Escayola William Haggas 4-8-04b Richard Quinn
Useful staying handicapper on faster ground last season and could be open to further improvement if he is able to handle this softer ground.

BP = 10/1

18) (5) 04/3 Mirjan Len Lungo 8-8-03b Paul Hanagan
Decent handicap hurdler at best and ran well on his most recent Flat start at Musselburgh but has traced three times since over hurdles. Probably handles the ground but is a bit quirky and is passed over.

BP = 33/1

19) (9) -092 Promoter Jeremy Noseda 4-8-02 Eddie Ahern
Second in Ascot Stakes last week and should stay well here. However, he is another who seems much more at home under faster conditions.

BP = 10/1

20) (1) 30-0 Spectrometer Richard Guest 7-7-13 Jamie Mackay
Formerly useful Flat performer who has been going well in novice chases. Has shown next to nothing on his most recent Flat starts and probably needs faster ground.

BP = 40/1

21) (3) 5962 Kristensen Don Eddy 5-7-12p Paul Fessey
Often runs well in this sort of race but overall win record is not great. Has handled soft ground in the past and could run into a place.

BP = 40/1

A typically competitive “Pitman’s Derby.” The value lies with DISTANT PROSPECT with the best outsider being Rayshan.





The main trends are:

15 of the last 17 winners had raced between one and four times earlier in the campaign

15 of the last 17 winners were placed in the first three at least once earlier in the season

15 of the last 17 winners were returned at odds of 12-1 or less

14 of the last 17 winners were drawn in stall nine or lower

With Royal Ascot taking the racing headlines last week, attention switches this weekend to Newcastle, which features the John Smith’s Northumberland Plate, more commonly known as the Pitman’s Derby.

15 of the last 17 winners had raced between one and four times earlier in the campaign. The two exceptions were 1999 hero Far Cry, who had previously appeared on five occasions that term, and last year’s winner Unleash, who despite having been busy over hurdles including three successes on his last three outings, was making his seasonal bow on the level.

Of this year’s 20 contestants, Self Defense and Jagger have yet to see a racecourse this season and this pair are immediately eliminated.

Joining them is Jorobaden, who has raced six times already in 2004, and Red Lancer who is also considered over-raced having been seen in public on an amazing 11 occasions.

Over the last 17 runnings of this prestigious handicap, the 1994 winner Quick Ransom and Unleash were the only victorious horses not to have been placed in the first three at least once earlier in the campaign. The best that the former could previously muster was a fifth, admittedly in a Grade One event at Santa Anita in the United States, while Unleash had not run previously (see above).

None of Mamcazma, Rayshan and Spectrometer have been good enough to finish in the top three this season and this trio disappear from the reckoning.

The two miles of the Northumberland Plate seems to have favoured lower weighted horses since 1987 - during this period 12 of the 17 winners carried 8st 11lb or less.

Defining, Silver Gilt, Collier Hill, Anak Pekan, Swing Wing and Barolo all have to carry 8st 12lb or more here and they are discounted.

12 of the last 17 winners were aged between three and five years including seven of the last nine victorious horses.

Distant Prospect, Zibeline, and Mirjan are aged seven or eight and, while they all probably have further races in them, it is unlikely to be this weekend.

15 of the last 17 winners were returned at odds of 12-1 or less. The two anomalies were 1994 hero Quick Ransom, sent off at 25/1, and seven seasons earlier Treasure Hunter, who was returned at 20/1.

Pagan Dance is a 22/1 shot with totesport, while first reserve, Kristensen, who gets a run, is 33/1 with the same firm - they are considered unlikely winners here.

Many punters believe that the draw is irrelevant in a race over two miles. They are entitled to their opinion but Codebreaker disagrees strongly. The evidence would appear to support this column as 14 of the last 17 winners were drawn in stall nine or lower including five of the last six successful horses.

This rules out Escayola, drawn in stall 20, and leaves PROMOTER, who will emerge from stall nine, as this week’s Codebreaker selection.

Confidence behind the selection is boosted by the fact that three of the last 17 winners came out of the very same stall - Bangalore in 2002, Witness Box 10 years earlier and Tamarpour in 1991.

For old articles (from 1st March 2000) go to the Newslink Archive

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