Monday 9 December 2019

Antiquarium breaks Ellison's heart

Antiquarium, ridden by James McDonald (left) beats Seamour to win the Northumberland Plate
Antiquarium, ridden by James McDonald (left) beats Seamour to win the Northumberland Plate

Nick Robson

Godolphin's Antiquarium broke the heart of north-east native Brian Ellison when swooping late to deny Seamour a famous success in the John Smith's Northumberland Plate at Newcastle.

Born on Plate day 64 years ago, it has been Ellison's dream to land the two-mile feature for as long as he has been involved in the game, and he will surely never come closer without doing so.

Sixth last year from a wide draw, Seamour had been trained specifically for the race this season and two furlongs out everything had gone to plan. Ben Curtis arrived on the scene with a double handful and kicked into a three-length lead and the race looked over entering the final furlong.

Unfortunately for his connections and those who backed him into 13/2 favourite, he began to tire and the Charlie Appleby-trained 16/1 chance Antiquarium stayed on powerfully to win going away by a length and a quarter.

The winner was partnered by James McDonald, Godolphin's retained rider in Australia. "I'm delighted, he was proven on the all-weather and I'd been pleased with him going into the race," said Appleby. "The trip wasn't a concern and when he was drawn well we had plenty of reason to be hopeful.

"I was hoping the trip would actually bring out improvement and it appears it has. James gave him a great ride and filled him with confidence. He was over for Ascot and as there not much going on at home for him he stayed a bit longer.

"There's a handicap at Goodwood which could be an option, but I'm a believer in the horses telling you when to run, he's got no lofty entries. He might be a Cup horse later in the season, we'll see. Not many have been coming from off the pace there so it's nice he was able to."

New Zealander McDonald said: "Maybe there's a good one in mind in early November (Melbourne Cup). I'm sure he will, he showed a really good turn of foot, which we like Down Under."

Ellison said of the runner-up: "He probably went too early, but he had so much horse underneath him. He was going too well.

"It does show we have a really good horse on our hands. He'll go for either the Ebor or the Lonsdale (at York in August). That's where he'll go next. We had him right on the day."

For the first time there was a consolation race, the Betfred Northumberland Vase, and it went the way of Dannyday, who had been ante-post favourite for the main event.

Punted from 6/1 into 7/2, those who fancied him for the Plate itself will have been ruing their luck after he narrowly missed the cut. However, his success only looked likely in the last half a furlong as Ted Durcan had to sit and suffer from his draw in stall 16. "He was slowly away and I was hoping to ride him handy," said Durcan of the Michael Stoute-trained market leader.

Who is your sportstar of the year?

Vote in the Irish Independent Sport Star Awards and you could win the ultimate sports prize.

Prizes include, tickets to Ireland's against Scotland in the Six Nations, All Ireland football and hurling final tickets and much more.

Simply click here to register your vote

Sunday Indo Sport

The Left Wing: The problem with the Champions Cup, the Stephen Larkham effect and trouble in Welsh rugby

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport