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The Pitmen’s Derby

Known as the Northumberland Plate, or indeed the John Smith’s Northumberland Plate in these days of sponsorship and branding. I was watching this: THE PITMEN’S DERBY ‘SHOWGIRL’ WINS 1930 – British Pathe. old film and thinking, apart from the clothing and health and safety requirements, the more things change the more they stay the same. Working men out on a Saturday afternoon, enjoying the horses, the fresh air and the fiendish puzzle of a huge handicap.

One of the broadsheet journo’s has written this week that it is condescending to call the Plate the Pitmen’s Derby, if you are a Southerner. I wonder why. Would he rather we called it the Call Centre Worker’s Derby? And lose all the tradition and connection with our past.

I can’t claim a connection with Gosforth Park where the race is run today, but we do have at least one miner in the family, although it means going back to the 1800s. Peter Worsley was my Great, Great Grandfather and lived and worked as a miner, but a stone’s throw from Haydock Park. It’s nice to think that he might have gone racing on high days and holidays too.

I will be thinking about backing Bernie the Bolt and Rajik this afternoon and I can’t forget about Mamlook either (Mam, look!). The Easterby pair that might battle for favouritism are clearly right up there chance wise, but I doubt I’d be getting a working man’s price about them now.