IN winning the John Smith’s Northumberland Plate at Newcastle in June, not only did the four-year-old gelding Tominator give his owners a day to remember and a first prize in Europe’s richest two-mile handicap, his victory also secured them the trip of a lifetime to Australia to see the Emirates Melbourne Cup.
Courtesy of Northern Racing, which owns Newcastle Racecourse, 70-year-old Peter Haslehurst and his son Tom, from Cheshire, are flying out to Melbourne to watch the most famous two-mile handicap in the world.
Tominator, whose victory in the John Smith’s Northumberland Plate came at odds of 25-1, runs in the colours of Peter’s wife Susy and is her only horse in training.
However, Susy has decided to forego the long flight and has given her place on the trip to their son.
Peter and Tom are thrilled at the prospect of being on course at Flemington to watch “the race that stops the nation”.
Peter said: “The Plate is such a prestigious race in its own right and we were delighted to win with Tominator. Winning the trip to Melbourne was a wonderful bonus.”
Changes made by the Victoria Racing Club to the race conditions meant the winner and placed horses in the John Smith’s Northumberland Plate would be exempt from possible balloting at the first entry stage.
Tony Kelly, managing director of Northern Racing, said: “Like the Melbourne Cup, the John Smith’s Northumberland Plate is a race with a lot of history and heritage, and we are delighted to mark the tie-in between the two races in this way.”
Brian Ellison’s Moyenne Corniche is set to be the sole representative of this year’s Plate field in the 2011 Melbourne Cup.
He finished fifth behind Tominator at Newcastle before going on to win the Ebor at York and has already landed in Victoria in preparation for the race.
Tominator, who is trained at Reg Hollinshead’s yard in Rugeley, Staffordshire, is set to run next in the Long Distance Cup race on British Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday.