In terms of sheer intensity, there is no more competitive race in the calendar than the Carlisle Bell – which is just as it should be, for its most ancient prize, dating all the way back to 1599. Though a 0-80 handicap, a rating of 78 was insufficient to guarantee a starting place yesterday. Due respect, then, to Miami Gator for making virtually all and rallying to see off Vito Volterra by nearly two lengths.
Elaine Burke, his trainer, was confined to watching at home. "Unfortunately I've hurt my back and had to go for some treatment, but I watched on TV and it certainly cheered me up," she said. "My daughter looks after him and rides him out so it's a family success."
The other historic prize on the card, the Cumberland Plate, went to Easy Terms – his fourth consecutive win for Edwin Tuer – and apprentice title contender James Sullivan rode out his claim in the process.
"Now the work really starts, to try to keep riding winners," he said. "I ride a lot for Ruth Carr, she's been great to me, and Mick Easterby has been very good. Mr Tuer is having a great spell at the moment and he helps me out a great deal as well. I would love to win the title, but need to keep working as hard as I can."
Chris McGrath's Nap
Tiger Reigns (3.20 Newcastle) Possibly stretched by longer trips of late. Has won twice over course and distance.
Petella (3.55 Newcastle) John Forbes is well treated without a penalty, but meets a flourishing rival in this mare.
One to watch
Aristeia (Richard Hannon) Got everything together at Goodwood last week, relishing the drop to six furlongs, failing only narrowly.
Where the money's going
Activate is 5-1 from 6-1 with William Hill for the Northumberland Plate at Newcastle on Saturday, and Deauville Flyer 10-1 from 12-1.