sport

Thunder set to strike

Trainer Sir Mark Prescott has confirmed that Big Thunder is likely to be his only runner in Saturday's Northumberland Plate.

The son of Dalakhani is a 16/1 shot with Sky Bet for the Pitmen's Derby but Prescott has revealed that his other runner, Alcaeus, could miss out.

"Big Thunder is on target for Newcastle but he's likely to be my only runner," Prescott told At The Races.

"He won five out of seven last season but will he be able to improve from three to four? That's the question. He'll love the quick ground. His work I don't think has been as impressive this spring as it was last autumn. He's not particularly been catching my eye and he's not really been giving me that wow factor, but of course he's capable of putting it all together on the racecourse and he will love the firm ground.

"I've never won the Northumberland Plate. We got beat a short-head with Hasten To Add and everyone thought we'd won, including the police and the cameras - that was the closest we've been."

Prescott has had a slow start to the season and only had the first runner from his Heath House yard this week. He admitted that he hasn't got the fire power this year that he has had in the past but is still confident of a successful season.

"If I haven't got horses with early engagements I like to try and target them to start running at the end of the first week or the start of the second week of May, which means starting to work them during Easter week. But when I did start to work them they had all gone visibly backwards," explained the trainer.

"So rather than continue to work them I put them all back to three weeks' trotting. They seemed to come through that well but the maths are that if you trot for three weeks it takes until now it get them to the racecourse.

"They seem healthy now and I haven't damaged any of them. I've probably got a less-talented squad than some years to try and make up more ground than usual which will be a big ask, but not impossible. At least they're healthy and I don't think I have spoilt them."