Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Northumberland Plate 2008: Bell's Charge Has Stamina to Win; Legacy Ticks All the Boxes

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Northumberland Plate 2008: Bell's Charge Has Stamina to Win; Legacy Ticks All the Boxes

Article excerpt

Byline: Doug Moscrop

IT'S asking a lot for a trainer to saddle the winner of a handicap as competitive as the John Smith's Northumberland Plate, but George Moore almost achieved it last year with Macorville following his 2006 triumph with Toldo.

The horse that denied the Middleham trainer his third Plate success - he also won with Highflying in 1993 - was Juniper Girl who put her head in front on the line. The filly was trained by Michael Bell who now relies on the well-fancied Highland Legacy for the latest renewal.

While it remains to be seen whether the prize will find its way to the same Newmarket yard, the four-year-old seems to have the right profile for this stamina test with ticks in the right boxes.

Admittedly, he has to put behind him a failure in the Chester Cup, for which he was favourite, and has some ground to make up on the third and fourth respectively, Tilt and Double Banded. He's a fine stamp of a horse who should appreciate the galloping track and long straight.

A half-brother to high-class middledistance performer High Accolade, Highland Legecy showed progressive form last year after being stepped up to two miles and carried on where he left off with a successful reappearance at Ripon.

Looking better than ever, he won with a bit more in hand than the two-length margin suggests and he can confirm that form with Bogside Theatre who is, nevertheless, an interesting rival from a stable that knows what it takes to win this race.

Returning from a lengthy break, Desert Sea picked up a penalty for the Plate after an easy win at Sandown and, though he needs to improve again, he has the ability to quicken.

Double Banded is a typical John Dunlop stayer who kept defying the handicapper last year and showed he was still ahead of him when reappearing at Nottingham and disposing of Tilt. Like Highland Legacy, he was well beaten in the Chester Cup. He is better than the form suggests and holds a similar chance as my selection.

Greenwich Meantime, third in 2006, beat only one home last year on unsuitable ground and may have missed the boat at the age of eight, while stable companion Halla San is still paying the penalty for a widemargin victory at Catterick last year. …

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