Withhold all class in Plate win
Champs Elysees’ son Withhold (5g Champs Elysees-Coming Back, by Fantastic Light) confirmed himself a stayer of the very highest calibre when toying with his opposition to win the Northumberland Plate at Newcastle on Saturday.
The £150,000 contest is always one of the season’s most-competitive handicaps but Tony Bloom’s five-year-old made all the running before powering clear in the closing stages of the two-mile event to win by two and three-quarters lengths.
Roger Charlton also saddled Withhold to land a huge gamble in last season’s Cesarewitch and a stiff rise in the ratings is now likely to follow with connections planning a tilt at the Melbourne Cup.
"The form of the Cesarewitch was well franked. Those first four or five horses have all run well, so the form was very solid,” said Charlton. "I guess in hindsight the handicapper could have put him up a little bit more. He will obviously go up another 10lb or so, I guess, but he is a nice horse.
"Watching him round there, it looked like he was going quite slowly, but he has got a good cruising speed and is a very straightforward, nice horse. We were always going to be in the first three and we thought one of Mark Johnston's would go forward, but they never had the chance to get there, so Robert (Winston) just kept it simple and he was never really that hard on him to do it.
“The weather and bad scopes have been a problem, which included Withhold, as he wasn't quite right. We've had to be patient, but patience pays off. He has been working with Second Step, who is rated 110. His form, I guess, was above his rating.”
Looking to the future, Charlton added: "I've got to check the conditions of getting into the Melbourne Cup, but that is the long-term aim. Depending on what we need to do to qualify, he will probably do the minimum before we go to Australia. I'm not going to run him all summer, as the target is the Melbourne Cup.”