Malton rider Ben Robinson savours biggest win of career in Northumberland Plate

MALTON jockey Ben Robinson recorded the biggest win of his career when Nicholas T came from last to first to land the William Hill Northumberland Plate – the Pitmen’s Derby – at Newcastle.

Ben Robinson gestures after winning the William Hill Northumberland Plate Handicap  race on Nicholas T.
Ben Robinson gestures after winning the William Hill Northumberland Plate Handicap race on Nicholas T.

Jim Goldie’s nine-year-old, wearing a hood for the first time, was produced on the far side of the all-weather course to lead inside the final furlong and deny long-time leader Hochfeld for Middleham trainer Mark Johnston.

There was all to play for when the 20 runners turned for home in the prestigious staying handicap.

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Hochfeld was proving hard to pass but Nicholas T, carrying a 5lb penalty for a victory at York two weeks ago, wore down the pacesetter to take the £81,000 first prize by half a length. Rajinsky, who crossed the line in fourth place, was promoted to third following a stewards’ inquiry with Island Brave demoted to fourth.

Ben Robinson on Nicholas T, winners of the William Hill Northumberland Plate

Robinson said: “I’m lost for words.

“My only doubt was staying the two miles as he can be a keen-travelling horse. I switched him off out the back and he got a lovely run up. He put it to bed really well.

“It’s unbeatable. It’s a race that Brian Ellison, my boss, has wanted to win all his career and for me to win it, for someone else, is really good.

“Jim is a very, very good trainer and he always manages to get one or two decent animals. This horse has never put a foot wrong.”

Ben Robinson on Nicholas T, (red/white cap, blue top) on their way to winning the William Hill Northumberland Plate

Goldie, who trains in Scotland, admitted victory in the historic contest had long been an ambition of his. He said: “It’s one of those races that was kind of on my bucket list.

“It’s a great race and a traditional race. Sir Chauvelin has been placed in the race before, but it’s a hard race to win.

“Nicholas T won over a mile and a half here (in November) by almost five lengths. Phil Dennis (jockey) said he couldn’t believe he picked up like that as stayers don’t. You saw that again today – from last to first.

“He had to go to York for a ladies race, which got him the penalty to get into this.”

Asked where the victory ranked in his career highlights, he said: “On the day it’s always very good.

“To be honest, when I won the Grand Sefton over the Grand National fences (with Lampion Du Bost in 2007), that was huge, and then I went and did it the next year with Endless Power. To win this race is great.”

Meanwhile Hurricane Lane, winner of York’s Dante Stakes last month, rallied late on under William Buick to land the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh from Frankie Dettori’s mount Lone Eagle.

He could now be aimed at Doncaster’s St Leger – the season’s final Classic – said trainer Charlie Appleby whose Adayar won the Epsom Derby earlier this month.