John Smith’s Cup aim for Northumberland Plate conqueror Nicholas T

Nicholas T will bid to provide trainer Jim Goldie with a second victory in the John Smith’s Cup at York following his thrilling triumph in Saturday’s Northumberland Plate.

The nine-year-old came from last to first to land the Newcastle showpiece under Ben Robinson and is set to turn out a fortnight later for another prestigious prize Goldie won with stable stalwart Euchen Glen in 2018.

Goldie said: “He’s come out of the race grand – he only really raced for half a furlong!

“He’ll get in the John Smith’s Cup. Up until winning over two miles on Saturday, his best trip was a mile and a quarter, so I would think we’ll go down that route.”

If Nicholas T can bag a second big-race victory on Saturday week, he will likely return to the Knavesmire in August for a tilt at the Ebor.

“To get in the Ebor he’ll probably need to win that (John Smith’s Cup). He’s rated 100 now and to get in the Ebor I would imagine you’d have to be 106 or 107, so he’ll need to win again,” Goldie added.

“Anyway, it can be done.”

Nicholas T swoops late for Northumberland Plate prize

Nicholas T sprang a 33-1 surprise when getting up close home to land the William Hill Northumberland Plate at Newcastle.

Jim Goldie’s nine-year-old, wearing a hood for the first time, was produced on the far side of the all-weather course to lead inside the final furlong and deny long-time leader Hochfeld, giving jockey Ben Robinson his biggest success in the saddle in the process.

Hochfeld had been prominent throughout the extended two-mile test with Australis, Rajinsky, Reshoun and the 5-2 favourite Trueshan among those up with the pace.

There was all to play for when the 20 runners turned for home in the prestigious staying handicap.

Hochfeld (28-1) was proving hard to pass but Nicholas T, carrying a 5lb penalty for a victory at York two weeks ago, wore down Mark Johnston’s charge to take the £81,000 first prize by half a length.

Rajinsky (16-1), who crossed the line in fourth place, was promoted to third following a stewards’ inquiry with Island Brave (16-1) demoted to fourth.

Robinson said: “I’m lost for words. My only doubt was staying the two miles as he can be a keen-travelling horse. I switched him off out the back and he got a lovely run up. He put it to bed really well.

“It’s unbeatable. It’s a race that Brian Ellison, my boss, has wanted to win all his career and for me to win it, for someone else, is really good.

“Jim is a very, very good trainer and he always manages to get one or two decent animals. This horse has never put a foot wrong.”

Goldie admitted victory in the historic contest had long been an ambition of his.

He said: “It’s one of those races that was kind of on my bucket list.

“It’s a great race and a traditional race. Sir Chauvelin has been placed in the race before, but it’s a hard race to win.

“Nicholas T won over a mile and a half here (in November) by almost five lengths. Phil Dennis (jockey) said he couldn’t believe he picked up like that as stayers don’t. You saw that again today – from last to first.

Ben Robinson after winning the Northumberland Plate on Nicholas T
Ben Robinson after winning the Northumberland Plate on Nicholas T (Tim Goode/PA)

“He had to go to York for a ladies race, which got him the penalty to get into this.”

Asked where the victory ranked in his career highlights, he said: “On the day it’s always very good.

“To be honest, when I won the Grand Sefton over the Grand National fences (with Lampion Du Bost in 2007), that was huge, and then I went and did it the next year with Endless Power.

“To win this race is great.”

Trueshan facing ‘huge ask’ under Plate welter burden

Alan King is under no illusions about the “huge ask” facing his stable star Trueshan in the William Hill Northumberland Plate.

An impressive winner of the Long Distance Cup on Champions Day at Ascot, the five-year-old made a promising start to the current campaign when runner-up to Japan in last month’s Ormonde Stakes at Chester.

Connections had been looking forward to a tilt at Gold Cup glory at Royal Ascot, but he was taken out on the day of the race because of the prevailing fast ground. As luck would have it, heavy rain later that night turned the ground bottomless for the following afternoon.

Having sidestepped his main objective, Trueshan will instead carry top-weight in the most prestigious race of Newcastle’s season on Saturday.

King said: “It was obviously very frustrating when the rain came (at Ascot) a few hours later, but I have no doubt we did the right thing taking him out – we couldn’t risk him on that ground on Thursday.

“It’s a huge ask on Saturday, I know that, but I’m just desperate to get a run into him. It’s a long time to wait for Goodwood, and if it was quick ground there and he couldn’t run again – you can’t keep them on the boil forever.

“We’ll take our chance and see what happens. At least we know the surface will suit.”

Apprentice rider Rhys Clutterbuck takes over in the saddle from Hollie Doyle, with King keen to offset some of the welter burden of 10st 4lb.

Alan King also saddles Rainbow Dreamer
Alan King also saddles Rainbow Dreamer (John Walton/PA)

He added: “Rhys has never ridden for me, I don’t think. But I spoke to Tony Hind (jockeys’ agent), and he recommended him very highly.

“It (5lb claim) all helps, hopefully.”

The Barbury Castle handler has an interesting second string to his bow in Rainbow Dreamer, who has won six times on the all-weather and was not beaten far into fifth place in last year’s Northumberland Plate.

“He’s a much better horse on the all-weather, as we know,” said King.

“His last couple of runs on the turf have been OK, and he seems in very good order, so I’d hope he’ll run well.”

The Charlie Fellowes-trained Dubious Affair came close to making a triumphant return from eight months off the track at the Royal meeting – going down by a head to Amtiyaz in the Copper Horse Stakes.

The daughter of Frankel is turned out just 11 days later for this weekend’s Gosforth Park feature.

Fellowes said: “She ran a huge race at Ascot, where arguably she was a bit unlucky. She would have got a penalty for winning that, and in another metre we probably would have won, so we’re basically a winner running without a penalty – which is rather nice.

“You’ve just got to hope that after such a long time off she’s got over the exertions of that race and that it hasn’t left a mark on her.

“Stepping up to two miles will be no problem. I think she’ll love the track, and she likes a big field, so there’s lots of positives.

“It’s just slightly in the lap of the gods whether she’s back to 100 per cent, after what would have been a tough race at Ascot.”

Australis in action at Wolverhampton
Australis in action at Wolverhampton (Steve Davies/PA)

Roger Varian saddles last year’s runner-up Australis, and is hopeful of another bold bid.

“He was second in the race last year and has some very good form on the all-weather,” said the Newmarket trainer.

“He had a nice run over a mile and a half on Derby day at Epsom to sharpen him up and he’s quite an interesting runner, I think.”

Mark Johnston fires a five-pronged assault in his bid to win the race for the first time since Quick Ransom struck gold in 1994 – with Mildenberger, Watersmeet, Themaxwecan, Lucky Deal and Hochfeld all declared.

The Ian Williams-trained Reshoun, a narrow and surprise winner of the Ascot Stakes last week, also features.

Trueshan in line to take Northumberland Plate chance

Trueshan heads the weights for the William Hill Northumberland Plate at Newcastle on Saturday.

The torrential downpours that hit Royal Ascot on Friday came 24 hours too late for the Alan King-trained stayer and his Gold Cup bid, with the British Champions Day winner withdrawn from his clash with Stradivarius and company due to unsuitably quick ground.

King’s charge boasts a rating of 118, which means he will have to shoulder 10st 4lb if he lines up at Gosforth Park, although 5lb claimer Rhys Clutterbuck has been provisionally booked to ride.

The Barbury Castle handler also has last year’s fifth Rainbow Dreamer in contention on 9st 10lb.

Mildenberger is next in the weights and is one of eight still in contention for Mark Johnston, with a total of 61 horses standing their ground.

Mildenberger has not run since contesting the richly-endowed Red Sea Turf Handicap in Saudi Arabia back in February, while the likes of Themaxwecan, Hochfeld and Rochester House all ran at Ascot last week.

Sir Mark Prescott’s Longsider is among the leading ante-post fancies, although he needs a number of runners to come out to make the field, along with William Haggas’ Dancing King, who ran in the Queen’s Vase last week, and Dubious Affair from Charlie Fellowes’ yard, with that one having been touched off by just a head in the Copper Horse Stakes at the Royal meeting.

Fellowes has three others still in the two-mile feature, with Ascot Stakes winner Reshoun heading eight for Ian Williams. Those horses eliminated will be given the chance to run in the consolation Vase over the same course and distance.

Recent Salisbury winner Opera Gift, the Roger Varian-trained pair of Zeeband and Australis are also prominent in the betting.