Ile De Re follows up his Chester Cup win with Northumberland Plate gloryPICTURE: John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)
McCain does it again as Ile De Re lands Plate
Report: Newcastle, Saturday
John Smith's Northumberland Plate (heritage handicap) 2m, 3yo+
JUMPS trainer Donald McCain is proving every bit as effective with his horses on the Flat, as his Chester Cup hero Ile De Re became the first horse to come from the Roodee and follow up in the Plate since Sir Peter O'Sullevan's Attivo did the double in 1974.
Ile De Re went off the 5-2 favourite having been punted down from the 6-1 recommended by Pricewise.
The grey did it the hard way as he held off challengers all the way up the straight in what, as expected, was a real grind. Crackentorp and Icon Dream filled second and third with French Hollow finishing best of all in fourth.
"Mr McCain's horses are fantastic to ride - they just keep puling out more," said winning jockey Jim Crowley.
McCain is proving a real force with his stayers on the Flat, and following his success with Overturn in this race in 2010 and the Chester Cup last year, the Cheshire handler has now won four of the last five renewals of both races, which is quite a feat in such competitive handicaps.
However, this was never going to be an easy victory and Ile De Re had to work very hard up the long straight to see off the placed pair, with Icon Dream in particular looking a major threat at one stage as he travelled well under Graham Lee. But in conditions which would be desperate even by jumping standards, it was a well-judged ride by Crowley, who had followed a sensible pace set by Figaro and was able to get a crucial first run on the field.
"That's magic," said McCain. "It didn't happen the way we wanted and he had to go on a long way from home. Every time a horse came to him he found a bit more."