Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

A North East Occasion to Set the Pulses Racing; NO EVENT IN THE NORTH EAST RACING CALENDAR STIRS EMOTIONS LIKE THE BETFRED NORTHUMBERLAND PLATE FESTIVAL AND ITS HIGHLIGHT, THE MIGHTY JOHN SMITH'S NORTHUMBERLAND PLATE. ANGELA UPEX FINDS OUT MORE

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

A North East Occasion to Set the Pulses Racing; NO EVENT IN THE NORTH EAST RACING CALENDAR STIRS EMOTIONS LIKE THE BETFRED NORTHUMBERLAND PLATE FESTIVAL AND ITS HIGHLIGHT, THE MIGHTY JOHN SMITH'S NORTHUMBERLAND PLATE. ANGELA UPEX FINDS OUT MORE

Article excerpt

Byline: ANGELA UPEX

NO EVENT in the North East racing calendar stirs emotions like The Betfred Northumberland Plate Festival and its highlight, the mighty John Smith's Northumberland Plate.

The three-day festival of racing regularly attracts crowds in excess of 40,000, made up of everyone from racing aficionados to once-ayear racegoers.

As much a social occasion as a major sporting event, it's an excuse for ladies and gents alike to don their finery and enjoy the North East's version of Royal Ascot, but with a more relaxed and informal atmosphere.

The three-day fixture starts on Thursday with the Betfred Seaton Delaval Trophy Raceday and the fixture provides a perfect opportunity to get together with friends and colleagues alike to enjoy some top-class racing and revelry (2.20pm-5.40pm). Tickets start at just PS14. Next out of the stalls is the Betfred Gosforth Park Cup Night which takes place on Friday (6.05pm-9.15pm) which is a great evening's racing to share with friends or colleagues.

New for 2016, there's even a beer festival to go along side the racing. Tickets start at PS15.

The three-day festival culminates with the biggest day of all on the Saturday afternoon when the John Smith's Northumberland Plate is run. Historically known as the Pitman's Derby, the race first ran in 1833 and the raceday is as popular today as it was back then. With a huge prize fund for this historic race, it's guaranteed to be another fantastic contest with first-class runners and riders from across the UK and Ireland set to line up.

The 2016 Northumberland Plate is set to take its own place in the history books.

The home of the Northumberland Plate underwent a PS12m redevelopment making it the only all-weather track in the North.

The PS12m redevelopment of the racecourse has been completed over the last six months and includes the all-weather Tapeta track surface and installation of a system of flood lights. The course replaces Newcastle's turf flat racing track, and will be used for the historic Northumberland Plate meeting later this year.

And there was great demand for the first meeting - to the extent that one race had to be divided. …

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