Newcastle Northumberland Plate: The highlight of the racing calendar at Newcastle, the Northumberland Plate Festival celebrates its 135th year in 2017. This three-day festival has first class racing and a party atmosphere.
Described by some as the ‘North East’s version of Royal Ascot but with a more relaxed and informal atmosphere’, the Plate Festival runs from the Thursday to the Saturday in late June/early July each year, with the Northumberland Plate race itself being run on the Saturday.
Originally the big meeting took place on a Wednesday, and for many years it was the centrepiece of a ‘Race Week’ holiday for local miners – hence its popular nickname the ‘Pitmen’s Derby’. From 1949 the day ceased to be a holiday, and from 1952 the meeting moved to its Saturday arrangement.
The Northumberland Plate race itself is a flat handicap open to horses aged three years or older. It is run over a distance of 2 miles and 56 yards (3,270 metres).
Established in 1833, and the inaugural race was won by Tomboy at Town Moor. It was transferred to Gosforth Park (Newcastle) in 1882 where it has remained ever since.
The Northumberland Plate has become one of the richest two-mile handicaps in the world and until 2015 it was run on turf. When Newcastle Racecourse constructed its new all-weather track, the race was first run on Tapeta in 2016 and will continue on that new surface (for the foreseeable future).
Most successful horse (3 wins): Underhand – 1857, 1858, 1859
Leading jockey since 1985 (2 wins): Willie Carson – Al Maheb (1990), Celeric (1996); and Kevin Darley – Far Cry (1999), Bay of Islands (2000)
Leading trainer since 1985 (3 wins): Paul Cole – Windsor Castle (1997), Cyrian (1998), Archduke Ferdinand (2001)
- BetFred Seaton Delaval Raceday, Thursday 29th June
- BetFred Gosforth Park Cup Night, Friday 30th June
- The Stobart Rail Northumberland Plate Day, Saturday 1st July
This year the Northumberland Plate is sponsored by Stobart Rail, who will be displaying two of their popular trucks at the event, and bringing along their mobile shop.
New for 2017, there will be free kids activities and free fairground attractions on offer to keep the little ones entertained throughout the day. The activities and attractions will be located within the family enclosure, where picnics are also permitted. There is no charge for use of the attractions! All children under 18 are admitted FREE to the enclosures.
The event features a host of live music acts performing for guests throughout the day. Starting with John Gatenby & Dan McClew before racing from 11am, outside the racecourse entrance and on the Premier Lawns respectively, before it’s over to the fantastic Aaron Bayley Band after racing for all guests on the Grandstand Lawns. Then don’t miss more live music in the Border Minstrel, with acts performing late into the evening!
Enjoy the day with one of the many craft ales, beers or ciders on offer at the Horsewalk Super Bar on the Premier Enclosure Lawns, thanks to Marston’s & Box Social Breweries. To commemorate this year’s Plate Festival, there will be a Stobart Rail Northumberland Plate Pale Ale; a lighter blonde ale with subtle citrus flavours and a delicate bitter aftertaste, delivering refreshment with flavour.