Two years after Overturn careered to Northumberland Plate glory, Ile De Re emulated his stablemate with a commendably gutsy display at Newcastle. He completes a famous Chester Cup / Northumberland Plate double.

Torrential rain and severe storms had hit the north-east over the past few days, leading to Thursday’s meeting at the track being cut short and Friday evening’s popular fixture abandoned totally. The ground was described as heavy and races were just about as testing as National Hunt events. Much credit must go to the ground staff at Gosforth Park, for making the racecourse raceable.

That would have undoubtedly suited Ile De Re and Jim Crowley had Donald McCain’s grey prominent throughout the contest. He always travelled well and was manoeuvred to challenge on the approach to the home straight. Having been caught wide during the race, he hit the front earlier than connections would have wanted, but galloped on resolutely and determinedly repelled the late thrusts of Crackentorp and Icon Dream.

Still well handicapped over hurdles, it is quite likely that the six-year-old will be given a break in order to return fully tuned up for a campaign over obstacles.

Ile De Re was the first horse to carry more than nine stone to victory in this leading two-mile handicap since Bangalore a decade ago. Such a performance in such conditions is particularly noteworthy.

James Muir

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