Racing: Headgear can coax Definitely to Plate win

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The Independent Online

Considering that Yeats last week won £137,000 in the most prestigious staying race of the northern hemisphere, it is hardly surprising if trainers devote months of planning to the John Smith's Northumberland Plate at Newcastle - a handicap that rewards the winner with a staggering £123,000.

Yet the best value may concern a horse who only just scraped into the race and was beaten out of sight just a week ago.

Most Definitely (3.20) has ample ability to get involved, and the fitting of cheekpieces might just coax him to show it. He has often travelled well without finding much, and appeals as just the type to respond to "mutton chops".

Fairly handicapped, off a mark 5lb lower than when storming from last to fourth in similar company at Doncaster last autumn, his low draw should enable him to take a handy position in a race seldom run at a sufficient gallop to help the sloggers through from the rear. Greenwich Meantime is progressing rapidly for a new stable, but a poor draw has already shown him to be more about speed than stamina in the Chester Cup, and a bigger danger may be Bulwark, who continues to improve for this jockey and is bred to be top-class. A less speculative bet is Indian Trail (next best 2.45), who flew home after being hampered in the Wokingham last weekend.

Hard Top (3.0) also makes a quick reappearance, down at Newmarket, having once again failed to show his best at Royal Ascot, this time by refusing to settle. He should outclass these rivals if responding to a new jockey today. Jamie Spencer should also suit Nayyir (3.35) in the next. Everything fell right for this veteran at Epsom last time, but at least he showed undiminished powers of acceleration.

At the other end of the career spectrum, Hope 'n'Charity (nap 2.25) laid excellent foundations at Leicester and can build on them for a trainer doing much the same himself.

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