Author: Alan Kelly
Published: 09:56 25/06/2014
One of the biggest sporting events in the north-east of England takes place at Newcastle racecourse ( Gosforth Park ) on Saturday afternoon in the shape of the John Smith's Northumberland Plate and betting on the £140k two-mile handicap has been dominated by Irish challenger Pique Sous since that horse's impressive victory in Royal Ascot's Queen Alexandra Stakes last weekend. A 5lb penalty means the Willie Mullins-trained grey 7-year-old will be carrying 9st1lb on Saturday providing stablemate Simenon is also declared, otherwise the weights would rise by a minimum 2lb.
Available at 7-1 when the 5-day declarations were known on Monday the son of Martaline is now no bigger than 5-1 to win a second major prize within a week, odds which are currently on offer with several bookmakers including Paddy Power, Ladbrokes, Coral and William Hill. There is no doubt the talented dual-purpose performer is going to prove a tough nut to crack in the race known by locals as the ' Pitman's Derby ' but at the 11-1 available with Betway the horse that appeals most as a value alternative is the Richard Fahey-trained Angel Gabrial.
The 5-year-old is guaranteed to make the race as number 19 of a maximum field of 20 and a strong case can be made for the Hurricane Run gelding on his form this season which includes a win over this trip at Ripon in April, putting to bed any doubts regarding stamina limitations. That run was followed by a trip to the Roodee for the extended 2m 2f StanJames Chester Cup and the mount of Jamie Spencer ran a stormer going down by just a half length to Suegioo after making rapid headway to lead two furlongs out. The shorter trip at the north-east venue looks ideal and despite racing off a 5lb higher mark Angel Gabrial has a major chance of giving his trainer a first victory in this historic race.