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Caravan Of Hope bags Northumberland Plate for overjoyed Hugo Palmer

Sat 27 Jun 2020

Hugo Palmer was able to tick the Betfair Northumberland Plate off his bucket list when Caravan Of Hope justified 9-2 favouritism in the famous race.

Palmer may train in Newmarket now – but his roots are firmly entrenched in the north-east, and he sent two horses up the A1 to Newcastle and was rewarded with first and third as Collide also ran with great credit.

Splitting the Palmer pair was Roger Varian’s well-fancied Australis, who had beaten Caravan Of Hope narrowly last time out, and they met on just 1lb different terms.

There was little between them again as all the right horses were to the fore two furlongs, with Hollie Doyle hitting the front on Rainbow Dreamer.

Palmer’s duo were travelling better, though, and then Australis began to close in. But is was Caravan Of Hope and Harry Bentley who found the decisive turn of foot when it mattered, winning by a length and a half.

Cosmelli once again showed his liking for the course and distance, finishing well to claim fourth.

“I didn’t know which one to cheer – I was just shouting ‘go on boys!’,” said Palmer.

“Collide ran a wonderful race, because he was drawn wider, had to settle further back and carry an awful lot of weight.

“I’m a Newcastle United fan, I grew up just north of there, I went to university there – and the Plate is one of those races I’ve dreamt of winning.

“There aren’t many handicaps on the bucket list, but this is one of them. I’m absolutely chuffed to bits.

“He was very tough, and Harry gave him a wonderful ride – as did Ben (Curtis) on Collide.”

Palmer is already casting his mind forward to the next big-race target for both horses – with York looming large.

He said: “You’d think of the Ebor for both, but we can’t get carried away. Caravan Of Hope has won off 89, and he’ll need about 17lb to even get in. Collide is off 105, but wouldn’t have got in last year.

“It’s where we want to go with Collide for sure – both need give in the ground, though. Who knows, we’ve had a dry spring – we might get a wet summer.

“We’d certainly think of it, but Caravan Of Hope I think could be struggling. He’s still lightly-raced, though, and has never been out of the frame in his life -he’s a joy, and I’m so pleased for the owner who has been a good supporter of mine.

“It’s wonderful. It’s a really historic race, and I’m thrilled to have won it.”

It was a nice result for Bentley, too, who had earlier watched his old pal Limato win a Group Three at Newmarket.

“From that draw (17), I was slightly concerned that I would either be posted too wide or I’d sit further off the place than ideal,” he said.

“But the way it turned out was perfect. I got a handyish position, one off the rail.

“I was always comfortable, he settled nicely-  and the step up in distance has been perfect for him. It’s a long last two furlongs here, but he stuck it out very well.

“I thought he ran a very good race beyond Australis at Wolverhampton, and probably had to cover a bit more ground than the winner that day. With the 1lb I was getting off him, I thought I’d get the better of him.”

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Judicial may be getting on in terms of a sprinter – but Julie Camacho’s eight-year-old appears to have found a new lease of life over six furlongs, having run out a ready winner of the Betfair Backs Racing Welfare Chipchase Stakes.

Having been a reliable type just below the highest class for a number of years, all Judicial’s best form was over five furlongs – save for a handful of experimental runs over six.

It was not until he landed a Listed race over that trip at Lingfield in November that connections began to think now may be the time to campaign up in distance – although he reappeared back over the minimum at Newmarket when closing into second behind Far Above.

He looked noticeably happier mid-race back over six at Newcastle, however, with jockey Callum Rodriguez the last off the bridle en route to a 9-1 victory in a contest run in torrential rain.

It soon became apparent the favourite Mubakker would not be winning, and he dropped away to be last of all, leaving Judicial to see off the Kevin Ryan-trained pair of Brando and Major Jumbo by a length and a half to provide Rodriguez with a first Group-race success.

Steve Brown, Camacho’s partner and assistant, said: “He keeps surprising us. When they get to eight you wonder if they are going to start regressing a touch – but he looks as good as ever.

“I led him to the start, but you now have to walk back, and I knew after two furlongs at Newmarket they were going too fast for him – although he still ran well.

“The logical thing was to come back half a stride to let him travel – and he seemed to love it, he travelled really well.

“It’s a stiff six here, but he got it really well. He got the easy six at Lingfield, but he helps you now, he settles and you can ride a race – before he wouldn’t even meet you halfway.

“He’s done so much for Elite Racing, who are great supporters of ours. He’s a home-bred – and while he hasn’t achieved as much as his half-sister (Marsha) he’s won two Group Threes and means the world to us.

“We’ve run him in the better races, and he couldn’t go with Battaash at Goodwood, and we said ‘no more at that level’. But you look at that today –  well we can have a look at the July Cup, and see who is in it. It’s a possibility.”

A thrilled Rodriguez said: “I’m over the moon. On his last run in the Palace House I thought he’d go close – he ran a massive race behind a serious horse, and obviously it’s a shame his (Far Above’s) career his over.

“He’s unreal. He’s done all his racing over five. But we discussed it, and he’d been behind the bridle before finishing well, so it looked the time to step up him to six.”

Tom Marquand ended an up-and-down week in the best possible fashion when winning the Betfair Free Bet Streak Gosforth Park Cup on his old friend Caspian Prince.

The 22-year-old was dealt just about the first real blow of his hugely promising career on Monday when it was revealed he would be replaced on the Derby favourite English King by Frankie Dettori.

Since then, however, Marquand has barely stopped riding winners – and the confidence flowing through his veins was clearly transmitted to the veteran sprinter, now with Mick Appleby.

An 11-year-old, Caspian Prince (28-1) has been around the block a bit – and having been rated 118 at his peak, was running at Newcastle off a still lofty 98.

But after taking up the running with a furlong to run, he saw off Venturous by a length and a quarter.

“I never thought I’d get the chance to win on him,” said Marquand.

“I used to ride him on Tony Carroll’s gallops when I was still at school.

“That’s the first time I’ve ridden him in a race. He was a great horse for Tony – he won the Dash at Epsom with him, and he was the first good horse I sat on.

“That was when I was about 14 or 15, so it’s great to get a win on him. He’s an old warrior. Obviously he’s been with a few different trainers, but Mick is good at getting the best out of these horses.”

Marquand then quickly doubled up in the Group Three Betfair Exchange Hoppings Stakes on William Haggas’ Nkosikazi (9-4).

Allowed an easy lead, she saw off the challenge of the favourite Virgin Snow, a daughter of Snow Fairy.

“It was tactical in our favour, because I was worried if we’d get taken on for the lead, but I knew she’d stay,” said Marquand.

Reflecting on this topsy-turvy week in which he picked up the Derby ride on Andrew Balding’s Khalifa Sat, he said: “I’ve found a Derby ride on a horse who knows how to win.

“I rode him in the Cocked Hat, and he showed a great attitude that day and handles an awkward track.”

Glen Shiel relished getting back on the all-weather for Hollie Doyle and Archie Watson in the Betfair Racing Only Bettor Handicap.

He chased home the classy Mubakker on his previous start at Gosforth Park, before running a creditable race at Royal Ascot over seven furlongs.

Glen Shiel has raced over as far as 10 furlongs with credit for Watson since his move from France, and Doyle believes it is the all-weather surface which is more important to him than six furlongs.

“He bumped into a nice horse when he was here last time – and he didn’t disappoint at Ascot to be fair,” she said.

“He just gives you a different feel on the all-weather to the turf, he pings off it. I think he just loves it here.

“I got off him at Ascot and said he felt like a different horse – he felt like a miler, he felt one-paced and slow – but on this surface he lights up.”

The Charlie Hills-trained Tilsit had made a pleasing debut when just touched off at this course not long after the resumption, and made no mistake in the Win Bigger On Betfair Exchange Novice Median Auction Stakes.

While what he beat could be questioned, there can be no quibbling with a 19-length winning margin for the 4-11 favourite, who was yet another success for Ben Curtis.

“I was quite easy on him on his debut, so I wanted him to have a race today,” said the in-form jockey.

“The race was over when I hit the front two out, but he would have learned nothing if I just let him coast home, so I made sure I rode him out.

“I’m not sure what he beat, but he’s a nice progressive horse going forwards.”

Owner John Dance had endured a frustrating run of placed horses since June 1 but finally got off the mark at Newmarket on Friday – and just like London busses, his second winner quickly followed.

The newcomer Toussarok was sent off 5-4 favourite to give Mark Johnston yet another winning juvenile – and the half-brother to Andre Fabre’s Troupbeau, losing favourite in the French 1000 Guineas, beat previous winner Inhaler by an eased down three-quarters of a length.

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