ITV RACING TIPS: CAN SMART CHAMPION TAKE THE NORTHUMBERLAND PLATE?

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There’s plenty of action on the way courtesy of the ITV Racing crew this weekend, starting with a Newcastle and Newmarket double header on Saturday.

You can enjoy four races from Tyneside, including the Northumberland Plate at 15:35, plus a trio from Cambridgeshire, including the 7f Criterion Stakes at 14:40.

And before they get underway, we’ve previewed three of the televised races in our ITV Racing Tips.

RACE OF THE DAY – Northumberland Plate – Newcastle 15:35

The Northumberland Plate is often a wide-open affair, with six of the last 12 victors coming home at 12/1 or greater.

And with only three favourites hacking up in that time, that could spell bad news for market leaders Australis and Smart Champion.

Australis won on his seasonal reappearance at Wolverhampton to blow away the cobwebs three weeks ago, but David Simcock’s Smart Champion defeated the fancied Carnwennan with a fine win at Newcastle back in February, and backed that up with a solid run to fourth at 22/1 in the Royal Ascot Stakes.

The aforementioned Carnwennan is a contender here too. A course and distance winner, the five-year-old is stabled at the in-form Charlie Fellowes’ yard, and seems to have an affinity with the Newcastle course, romping to the Northumberland Vase 12 months ago.

NEXT BEST – Criterion Stakes – Newmarket, 14:40

Criterion winner in 2019, Limato is looking to double up 12 months on for Henry Candy. The eight-year-old simply loves Newmarket, racking up five victories at the course in the last four years.

It’s a seasonal reappearance for the Tagula gelding, and though that’s often been cause for hope from Limato’s rivals in the past, he was impressive when second to Mushtashry in the Challenge Stakes back in October, and there have been positive comments ahead of this one from the Candy yard.

Rain could play a role, with Limato happier on faster turf. And that could point some towards the Charlie Appleby pair of Mubtasim and On the Warpath.

Both winners over course and distance, the former has scored first or second in each of his last five runs, including a win at Newmarket in April last year, and could be plenty content should a few drops of rain fall in the morning.

And many will have an eye on Mark Johnston’s Vale of Kent, with the five-year-old ridden by Frankie Dettori. The combination has succeeded before at Newmarket, winning last year’s Bunbury Cup at 13/2.

ONE TO WATCH – Hoppings Fillies’ Stakes – Newcastle, 15:35

It’s quality over quantity in this 1m2f sprint, with four of the six runners in with a more than reasonable shout.

The Ralph Beckett-trained Aloe Vera heads up the pack on her seasonal reappearance, although the four-year-old is something of an unknown quantity having raced just twice before.

She impressed both times though, hacking up on debut at Chepstow in May last year, before following it up with another success at Goodwood three weeks later.

It remains to be seen however how she will handle the step up in pedigree here, with Look Around, Virgin Snow and Nkosizaki holding genuine claims.

Ed Dunlop’s Virgin Snow is going in some 8lbs lighter than her rivals, but it’s William Haggas’ Nkosizaki who comes into this in fine form, having won at the distance at Redcar on the 18th, and will be boarded by Tom Marquand.

SATURDAY 13TH JUNE, ITV RACING SCHEDULE

13:50 Newcastle – Chipchase Stakes (Group 3)

14:05 Newmarket – Fordham Handicap Stakes

14:25 Newcastle – Gosforth Park Handicap Stakes

14:40 Newmarket – Criterion Stakes (Group 3)

15:00 Newcastle – Hoppings Fillies’ Stakes (Group 3)

15:15 Newmarket – Fairway Stakes (Listed)

15:35 Newcastle – Northumberland Plate Handicap Stakes

View the latest Horse Racing odds

All odds and markets correct as of date of publication

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Richard Marsh

Richard loves his sport, especially if it involves the sound of tyres screaming around a race track. He's not fussy though and his '90s Premier League nostalgia and knowledge of team nicknames is tough to match.