Review Of Saturday’s Northumberland Plate: Withhold Handed Newcastle’s Pitman’s Derby On A Plate

Northumberland Plate favourite Withhold took full advantage of an uncontested lead to win Newcastle’s big handicap on Saturday.
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“They handed it to me, they absolutely handed it to me,” was how winning jockey Robert Winston described his ride aboard well-backed 5-1 favourite Withhold in Saturday’s Stobart Rail & Civils Northumberland Plate at Newcastle. The historic race, more popularly known to locals as the Pitman’s Derby, was the second valuable prize won by the Tony-Bloom-owned five-year-old following the son of Champs Elysees gambled-on victory in last season Cesarewitch at Newmarket.

Ridden by Silvestre De Sousa on that occasion when making most of the running, it was a case of more of the same at Gosforth Park as new pilot Winston could hardly believe his luck as the gelding’s nineteen rivals were quite happy to let Roger Charlton’s charge an uncontested lead, a decision they would come to regret as when Withhold kicked for home some two furlongs out the result was never really in much doubt. Prince Of Arran and Sir Chauvelin came out of the pack to finish second and third respectively but nothing was ever going to trouble the easy two and three quarter length winner.

A heft hike in the weights awaits Withhold according to his trainer, who said: “ The form of the Cesarewitch was well franked. Those first four or five horses have all run well, so the form was very solid. I guess in hindsight the handicapper could have put him up a little more. He will obviously go up another 10lb or so, I guess, but he is a nice horse.”

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The long-term aim for Withhold according to Charlton is the Melbourne Cup at Flemington, for which he is a best price 20-1 with Sky Bet, Ladbrokes and Coral. But before that a trip to the Sussex Downs for the Goodwood Cup could be next on the agenda for the rapidly-improving stayer who will be stepping up to Listed and Group company from now on.

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