Ellison aiming for ‘local’ triumph

Mark Johnston is relying on English Summer and Nave to give him his second John Smith’s Northumberland Plate triumph this afternoon.

The Middleham handler landed Europe’s richest two-mile handicap in 1994 with Quick Ransom and English Summer arrives at Newcastle on the back of a gritty victory at Chester in May.

The French import will be partnered by Brazilian-born up-and-coming jockey Silvestre De Sousa, who said: “I’m very excited and looking forward to riding him. I think he will run a big race.

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“The trip won’t be a problem and Mr Johnston’s horses are on fire so fingers crossed.

“Mr Johnston has given me plenty of opportunities and hopefully I can keep it going.”

Nave was no match for the reopposing Harlestone Times at Goodwood and connections of the winner travel north in an upbeat mood.

“The plan has been the Northumberland Plate since he won nicely at Goodwood in May,” said Marcus Hosgood, racing secretary to trainer John Dunlop.

“He has a good chance, although it is a highly competitive race. The ground won’t be a problem for him and he is in good shape.”

The recent rain will play to the strengths of Moyenne Corniche, who will fly the flag for Brian Ellison.

The Malton-based handler was born in Newcastle and is trying to win his ‘local’ race for the first time.

Ellison said: “He will absolutely love the ground, whereas not many will. The only thing is, while he wants it like this, it makes it more of a stamina test and we do have a bit of a question mark over the trip.

“I think he’ll stay it but it could become very testing.”

Adrian Nicholls believes Regal Parade has every chance of opening his 2011 account in the totesport.com Chipchase Stakes, which kicks off the Newcastle card.

The jockey feels the Group Three heat provides the seven-year-old, trained by his father Dandy, with a golden opportunity of a first success since the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville last August.

“It doesn’t look the strongest of races but these Group Three races always take a bit of winning,” said Nicholls junior.

“He’s in good form and I’ve been very pleased with him at home.

“He won’t mind the ground and on paper, it looks an ideal opportunity for him to get his head back in front before he goes back to France for the Group One (Prix Maurice de Gheest).

“He hasn’t done anything wrong so far this season. He was second to Delegator and I see he keeps getting backed for the July Cup, so I’m chuffed with that.

“I think Newcastle will suit him a bit better than York as it’s more of a galloping track over six furlongs.

“He’s been knocking on the door and I don’t see any reason he can’t go one better.”

Dante winner Carlton House is reported to be at the top of his game ahead of his bid for Classic glory in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh tomorrow.

The Sir Michael Stoute-trained colt has been the subject of much media frenzy this year, owing to the fact he is owned by the Queen.

He headed to the Epsom Derby as a hot favourite to give Her Majesty a first victory in the world’s most famous Flat race, but the warning signs were out for his supporters when he suffered a setback in the week leading up to the race and the disappointment of defeat was soon to follow.

But he was far from disgraced in finishing third, beaten by just a length by French ace Pour Moi, coming from some way back and losing a shoe inside the final furlong.

A trouble-free run since has prompted connections to let the son of Street Cry take his chance in the Irish equivalent, and the Queen’s racing manager, John Warren, said: “It’s all very exciting and we’re thrilled that the horse has come out of Epsom extremely well.”