sport

Sous heads Plate field

Impressive Royal Ascot winner Pique Sous is among 60 entries for Saturday's John Smith's Northumberland Plate at Newcastle.

The Queen Alexandra Stakes winner is one of three Willie Mullins-trained entries, with Simenon and Lucky Bridle making up the trio.

Simenon was in action just a few days ago when fifth in the Ascot Gold Cup and his trainer Willie Mullins has already intimated that Pique Sous, winner of the Queen Alexandra Stakes at the Royal meeting on Saturday, will head to the Gosforth Park track.

Mullins, Ireland's champion jumps trainer, has also confirmed the Graham and Andrea Wylie-owned Lucky Bridle for the two-mile feature.

All three of Mullins' representatives are guaranteed a place in the maximum 20-strong line-up for the valuable Heritage Handicap.

Tony Martin lifted this coveted prize in 2009 with Arc Bleu and the County Meath handler has two possibles in Dark Crusader and Thomas Edison, but both need horses to come out in order to take their chance.

There is an Northern Ireland entry in the shape of Sir Ector, trained in County Armagh by James Lambe.

Suegioo and Angel Gabrial, the first and second in the Chester Cup winner, could do battle again while other smart stayers in the mix include Whiplash Willie, Shwaiman, Big Thunder, Al Saham and Van Percy.

The going at Newcastle is currently good to firm and clerk of the course James Armstrong is hanging fire on watering until the weather forecast for the week becomes clearer.

He said: "We've had a dry 10 days. The ground has quickened up a fair bit and we are now good to firm. We put a fair bit of water on the entire course on Thursday, Friday and Saturday to try to keep things ticking over.

"The forecast said the weather was going to break down towards the second part of the week, but we are waiting for an update tomorrow morning to see what might happen because there are mixed reports.

"If we do get rain, we could get a bit, so we are going to have a check in the morning when all the forecasters have updated their records.

"If it looks like we are going to get only a few showers then we will probably start watering again tomorrow. However, if the forecast suggests we are going to get a decent drop of rain then we will keep off the course regarding irrigating.

"I wouldn't want the ground any quicker than it is now. I'd be irrigating just to maintain what we have at present.

"The course is in great condition with a good covering of grass. We are ready to rock and roll, but we just have this mixed forecast and no-one wants to pin their colours on what might happen."