Racing: Brier leads Plate weights

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The Independent Online
FROM THE top hats of Royal Ascot to images of miners' helmets this weekend as Newcastle stages its 150th Northumberland Plate, the Pitmen's Derby.

The central figure from the Royal meeting will be making her first visit to Gosforth Park's pounds 100,000, two-mile handicap and may even take home a portion of the prizemoney as she has the Lord Huntingdon-trained Hierarch in the race.

The four-year-old was one of 29 horses declared for the event yesterday, and one of 18 who will be out of the handicap if Brier Creek, the topweight, stays in the race. Brier Creek, who is trained like last year's winner, Witness Box, by John Gosden, has won all three of his starts this year, but is overshadowed in the betting by Not In Doubt, whom he beat by a neck in the Henry II Stakes at Sandown last month but who now reopposes on 19lb better terms.

Another taking high order in the early betting is Martin Pipe's Balasani, a comfortable winner of the Ascot Stakes at the Royal meeting, who carries an 8lb penalty for that success.

Douglas Hall, the vice-chairman of Newcastle United, will have two representatives in his black and white striped colours, Satin Lover and Welsh Mill, two of only seven horses in the race who are scheduled to carry more than 8st. The smallest of racing's small men seem sure to be in great demand this week.

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