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Page last updated at 16:35 GMT, Wednesday, 23 June 2010 17:35 UK
Northumberland Plate Festival at Newcastle Racecourse
Northumberland Plate race taking place in 1907
Northumberland Plate taking place in 1907

The Northumberland Plate is one of the highlights of the flat racing year in the north of England.

The three-day festival takes place at Newcastle Racecourse from Thursday 23 June and Saturday 25 June.

Crowds of around 24,000 are expected to attend the Northumberland Plate day which takes place on the Saturday.

The equally popular Gosforth Park Cup run over five furlongs remains the big race on Friday and Seaton Delaval Trophy opens the festival on Thursday.

The John Smith's Northumberland Plate is run over two miles and open to thoroughbreds aged three years or older.

It is also known popularly as the "Pitmen's Derby" reflecting the north-east of England's mining heritage.

In the 19th Century the race formed the centrepiece of the holiday period known locally as "Races Week".

Plate day attracts a diverse crowd of regular and one-off racegoers and many ladies treat it as a north-east's version of Royal Ascot, but with a more relaxed and informal atmosphere.

Northumberland Plate race
Thousands are expected to attende Northumberland Plate race


The inaugaral Northumberland plate was won by Tomboy, in 1833, at its original location of the Town Moor.

Much to the concern of many geordies the location was changed to High Gosforth Park in 1881.

The change of location brought new courses, new stand and stabling for 100 horses.

The racecourse had fallen into some decay over the years and was purchased in 1994 by Sir Stanley Clarke's Northern Racing.

It has seen an investment of over £11 million in his tenure with new facilities for racegoers, new stands, parade ring and a straight mile flat track.

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