Racing: House proud in the Plate

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The Independent Online
THE winner of today's 100th running of the Northumberland Plate collects almost pounds 60,000, a prize that would be a huge stimulus to a small stable like that of Finbarr O'Mahony. Indeed, in Flat racing they rarely come much smaller than this one: the Turf Directory listing the yard's staff as, 'assistant trainer, Mrs V O'Mahony; head lad, Mrs V O'Mahony.'

The husband and wife team had an air of justified optimism yesterday, however, as they drove from Surrey to Newcastle with the horsebox carrying a six-year-old bay, Mull House.

Summertime brings out the best in Mull House. This time last year he began a sequence of three victories, and also won three times during the summer of 1990. Two weeks ago he returned to near his best form with a fine win at Sandown. For that, MULL HOUSE (nap) carries a 3lb penalty but he appears to have a good each-way chance at around 25-1.

Balasani, Not In Doubt and Castle Cavalier have been heavily backed and have obvious chances, but their odds are too skinny now. Snow Board, ridden in most of his home work by his part-owner John Francome, has proved expensive to follow but appears to be improving and will like the fast ground. Francome said yesterday, however: 'My only worry is that the distance and the track will be a bit tight for him.'