MALTON'S Brian Ellison has described Northumberland Plate challenger Seamour as the 'best horse' he has ever trained.

Known as the ‘Pitmen’s Derby’, the Plate is one of the most valuable two-mile handicaps in the world and winning it has always been a lifetime's ambition for Newcastle-born Ellison.

Seamour, a six-year-old bay gelding, was narrowly beaten into second place by Goldolphin's Antiquarium last year after leading the race entering the final furlong.

Having finished sixth two years ago, Ellison hopes it will be a case of 'third time lucky' at Newcastle on Saturday afternoon.

"I’ve always wanted to win this race and I have felt, for a couple of years, that this is the horse to do it for me," he said. "I think he is the best horse I have ever trained and is absolutely flying.

"We just need a good draw for a change," Ellison added. "For the last two years, he has been drawn in the car-park! Last year, he was unlucky. He ran wide all the way round and still hit the front and put himself in a position to win it."

Seamour, who will be ridden by Ben Curtis, has failed to win in five appearances since last year's Plate but finished a creditable third on his last outing, the Listed Grand Cup Stakes at York, last month.

The Plate is the first part of an ambitious 'treble bid' for Seamour with Ellison also targeting next month's Betfred Ebor Handicap at York and, finally, November's Melbourne Cup in Australia.

"The Plate, the Ebor and the Melbourne Cup. That's the plan," said Ellison boldly. "He will need to go up 7lb to get in the Melbourne Cup - so we could do with winning one of these next two handicaps.

"But I think he would have a massive chance over there. He is fine travelling and he is a real good horse with a good turn of foot which suits that place."

Owned by Phil Martin, Seamour is the progeny of Irish stallion Azamour who won four Group One races between 2004-2005 and was once rated the world's third best thoroughbred.

The Northumberland Plate takes place at 3.30pm on Saturday and will be shown live on ITV.

Other strong contenders in the race include current favourite Flymetostars, trained by Sir Mark Prescott, and Higher Power, trained by James Fanshawe.

Middleham's Mark Johnston has outside chances with both Jaameh and Yorkidding.