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  • 15:05 John Smith's Northumberland Plate 2m 19y

  • (Heritage Handicap) £150,000 added 3yo+ 19 ran
  • Winner £92,475 2nd £27,840 3rd £13,920 4th £6,945
  • Going: Good to Soft
  • Surface: Turf
    Weighed In
  • Winning time: 3m 29.48s
  • Off time: 15:05:58

Weight worries for Overturn

Ground and weight concerns for Overturn connections in Plate bid

Last Updated: 24/06/11 2:36pm

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Overturn's extra weight is a worry in his Plate repeat bid.

Overturn's extra weight is a worry in his Plate repeat bid.

The weight that Overturn has to carry concerns Donald McCain almost as much as the ground for the John Smith's Northumberland Plate at Newcastle on Saturday.

Overturn will attempt to become the first horse since Tug Of War in 1978 to record back-to-back wins in Europe's richest two-mile handicap.

The seven-year-old returns to Gosforth Park mainly because soft ground prevented him from running in the Queen Alexandra Stakes at Royal Ascot last Saturday.

McCain is keen to run Overturn and reports him to be in top form, but his charge is rated 13lb higher than 12 months ago and has 17lb more to carry though that will be negated by 5lb with claimer Henry Brooke in the saddle.

"It was good to soft, soft in places on Friday morning but it's looking to dry up a touch and hopefully we'll be fine," said McCain.

"The horse is grand and well. We were set to go last week to Ascot before the ground went too soft.

"This was always going to be the back-up plan, but it will be harder than last year due to the higher weight he is carrying.

"If he gets his chance to run his race then he's a very tough horse to pass, but somewhere along the line weight is going to stop him.

"He is in very good form and the owner Mr (Tim) Leslie and I are very much hoping that we make the race this time, after the car broke down last year.

"It would be great to win it again as it is a massive northern handicap. The Melbourne Cup was considered last year and will be considered again."

Activate

Hayley Turner is looking forwards to teaming up with leading fancy Activate.

She was in the saddle for the gelding's last two wins in 2010 and is back aboard Michael Bell's charge after Jamie Spencer got the leg up for his win at Haydock four weeks ago.

"The draw (18) is not ideal but it's two miles and it's not as if we're racing around Chester," she told racinguk.com.

"The ground is in his favour, the trip is ideal and he's been pleasing us both mentally and physically. I'm very excited.

"The form of his last win has worked out really well, with the Queen Alexandra winner (Swingkeel) behind him.

"I've won a Group Two race before, but victory here would be right up there."

Bell was also disappointed with the draw for Activate but is delighted with the four-year-old's condition.

"He hasn't been handed a particularly good draw. He is in very good form and we hope he will run extremely well," said the Newmarket trainer.

"The Chester Cup was the original plan but he didn't make the cut. He has won his last three, he's progressive, he likes soft ground and is in very good form.

"This has been his target for a while - it's not an afterthought."

Tactician

However, he has withdrawn his other declared runner Tactician because the ground has gone against the Queen's horse.

"We were looking at the weather patterns and leaving it as long as possible before we had to send the horse up," he went on.

"We've come to the conclusion that it's not going to be suitable.

"It's very disappointing because the owner was particularly keen to go for the race. It's one of those things and we'll wait for another day.

"He'll run in the Listed stayers' race (John Smith's Silver Cup Stakes) at York on July 9, hopefully."

English Summer

Silvestre De Sousa has high hopes for his mount English Summer, trained by Mark Johnston.

"I'm very excited and looking forward to riding him. I think he will run a big race," said the Brazilian-born pilot.

"The trip won't be a problem and Mr Johnston's horses are on fire so fingers crossed.

"Mr Johnston has given me plenty of opportunities and hopefully I can keep it going."

Investissement

Another jockey with high hopes is Nicky Mackay, who is delighted to have kept the ride on Investissement having steered the John Gosden-trained five-year-old to victory at Goodwood eight weeks ago following a long lay-off.

"He showed class when I rode him when the ground could have possibly been a bit quick for him," he said.

"For him to do it the way he did it you couldn't ask for any more.

"You can put him anywhere in a race. He's drawn very well (three) on Saturday and we're drawn next to one of the favourites (Overturn) as well.

"Hopefully, we'll get a trouble-free run."

Montaff

Mick Channon took the Plate two years ago with Som Tala and is hopeful of adding to that with Montaff.

"I am confident that the horse has a real fighting chance as he is in great form," said the West Ilsley trainer.

"The Plate is a great race to win, being such a famous race and with proper prize money.

"We'll see how we go and take one step at a time but the Melbourne Cup has been in the back of my mind."

Prospect Wells

Howard Johnson played down the chances of his runner, Prospect Wells, but it is a race the County Durham trainer would dearly love to win.

"I'm not confident about his chances as I don't think the horse is well handicapped but it would mean a lot to win the Plate as it's a race I've always wanted to win," said Johnson.

Harlestone Times

This race has been Harlestone Times' target and connections of the four-year-old go there in upbeat mood.

"The plan has been the Northumberland Plate since he won nicely at Goodwood in May," said Marcus Hosgood, racing secretary to trainer John Dunlop.

"He has a good chance, although it is a highly competitive race. The ground won't be a problem for him and he is in good shape."

Simenon

Simenon has been handed the rail draw in stall one next to Overturn and the former's trainer Andrew Balding feels he has each-way claims.

"He should run a good race as he'll enjoy the ground and the trip," said the Kingsclere handler.

"He's been running well in good company and this is obviously another very competitive handicap, but I hope he has a chance of running into the money.

"We are happy about the draw and we're next to Overturn, which should help.

"We usually ride him prominently and I would have thought conditions will suit. I'm as hopeful as you can be going into Northumberland Plate."

Moyenne Corniche

While Moyenne Corniche will appreciate the ease in the ground, his stamina slightly worries trainer Brian Ellison.

"He will absolutely love the ground, whereas not many will," said the Malton handler.

"The only thing is, while he wants it like this, it makes it more of a stamina test and we do have a bit of a question mark over the trip.

"I think he'll stay it but it could become very testing."

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