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Gosforth Park, now run by Northern Racing, is a left-handed galloping track with a half-mile run from the final turn to the winning post. The course appears fairly flat but there is a steady climb on the straight course which extends to a mile and can be quite a test especially on soft ground. When that is the case, low numbers generally have an advantage but a high draw is best when the ground is good or faster over 5f and 6f. On the round course, the turn into the straight is surprisingly sharp and it is often difficult to overcome a high number in big fields over 1m2f. There are even those who claim that it is a disadvantage to be drawn wide in races over 2m with the bend away from the grandstands being similarly sharp - the prestigious Northumberland Plate (Pitmen’s Derby) being one of the races affected - but the statistics do not really support such a theory.
There has been racing in Newcastle since the 17th century and the aforementioned Northumberland Plate was staged at Killingworth from 1833 to 1881, when the current course was established at High Gosforth. The Group 3 Chipchase Stakes is now staged on the same day as the Pitmen’s Derby but it is the stayers that everyone turns up to see in late June. Younger horses are coming increasingly to the fore in Newcastle’s big race of the year and anything older than seven is unlikely to come out on top. Those carrying less than 8st12lb have the best record but they must have won over at least 1m4f and run well in their previous outing (fifth or better).
The course is north of the city centre on the A6125. It is well signposted from the A1. By rail, take the local Metro service from Newcastle Central to Regent Central – a bus service operates from there to the track on racedays.
Michael Dods’ three-year-olds have a good strike rate at Gosforth Park and Keith Dalgleish’s older horses win their fair share of handicaps. Graham Lee rode the track well when a jump jockey and has carried an impressive strike rate on to the Flat.
NEWCASTLE (NATIONAL HUNT)
Gosforth Park, now run by Northern Racing, is a left-handed galloping track with a half-mile run from the final turn to the winning post. The course appears fairly flat but there is a steady climb on the straight course and it can be quite a test for hurdlers and chasers when the ground is soft. Hurdlers will often steer a wide course on entering the straight as it can be an advantage to race up the stands rail.
The Grade 1 Fighting Fifth Hurdle, normally staged at the end of November, is Newcastle’s most important national hunt race of the year and is viewed as an early pointer towards the Champion Hurdle. That was certainly the case in the 1970s when the likes of Comedy Of Errors, Night Nurse, Birds Nest and Sea Pigeon were all victorious. Kribensis and Beech Road were other notable winners along with subsequent Cheltenham hero Punjabi. The Eider Chase, staged over 4m1f in February, is an important Grand National trial in which eight to 10-year-olds do best. Class often tells and most winners recently have carried 11st or more to victory, though a recent run (in the previous month) is equally important.
Sue Smith and Malcolm Jefferson’s runners are always worth a second look and Keith Reveley often runs his better chasers here. Lisa Harrison’s runners in low-grade hurdle races also do well.
Friday 24th March Results
Wednesday 22nd March Results
Saturday 18th March Results
Wednesday 15th March Results