HE has done it at last.

There was delight all round on Saturday afternoon when Geordie-born but Norton-based trainer Brian Ellison finally achieved one of his lifetime ambitions by winning the historic Northumberland Plate.

It has taken a while, but eight years after the agonizing defeat of another of his runners, Seamour, he finally achieved his goal when Onesmoothoperator, ridden by Connor Beasley, powered clear in the final furlong to take the £81,000 first prize by two-and-a-half lengths.

It was also a notable double for Brian because in February, he won one of Newcastle’s major jumps races, the four-mile Eider Chase, when Anglers Crag overcame a bad mistake at the second last to get up in the closing stages.

After that win, his second in the race in four years, Brian said that we would now have to concentrate on winning the Plate, and on Saturday he did just that, and in some style as well.

Born on Plate day back in 1952, Brian cut his racing teeth by going with his parents to Newcastle races, in particular, on Plate day and ever since he started training he has made no secret of the fact that Newcastle’s premier staying handicap was the one race he wanted to win.

He had two runners on Saturday, the classy Tashkhan, who carried top weight, and Onesmoothoperator, who was having his first run since finishing second on the all-weather at Southwell in late April.

With stable jockey Ben Robinson unable to do the weight on Onesmoothoperator, he partnered Tashkhan instead and it was the Durham-born Connor Beasley, who doesn’t ride very often for Brian, who was booked to ride the eventual winner.

In the end it proved pretty plain sailing for the winner, who was held up some way off the pace as the 20-strong field wound its way around Gosforth Park at a strong gallop.

It looked from an early stage that the leaders were going off too quickly and wouldn’t be able to last home, and so it proved, for as the pack began to close in the straight those who had raced near the front in the early stages began to wilt.

Connor, though, was confident. You could see from his body language that he had plenty of horse under him, and crossing to the favoured stand-side rails in the straight he eased his mount into the lead coming to the final furlong before powering clear to win by two-and-a-half lengths at the rewarding odds of 12-1.

Connor Beasley celebrates his win on Onesmoothoperator during the Jenningsbet Northumberland Plate.Connor Beasley celebrates his win on Onesmoothoperator during the Jenningsbet Northumberland Plate. (Image: Steve Welsh/PA)

It was an emotional moment for Brian, his wife Claire and the many friends and colleagues present at Gosforth Park.

Afterwards, the winning rider said: “That was amazing, everything went to plan and it worked out so well.

“I don’t ride that many for Brian but it is a privilege and an honour to win the Plate for him. I have known him all my life as my parents worked for him when I was born and used to take me into the yard.”

Connor deserves all the success he gets because as a young apprentice, he had an appalling fall at Wolverhampton which left him with multiple injuries and threatened to end his riding career.

Luckily he came through and despite having many months on the sidelines, has become a very successful jockey.

Naturally Brian was delighted after the race, saying: “I ran him in this race two years ago and hoped he would go well, but I think I’d over-raced him and he was a bit disappointing.

“So this year, I purposely kept him fresh and he hadn’t run since finishing second at Southwell in April, a race which has turned out very well, throwing up several winners, including one at Royal Ascot.

“Ever since I started coming here when I was a young boy I decided it was a race I’d like to win. It was agonizing when Seamour went clear and looked like winning it in 2016, but then got caught, but I’ve done it at last.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet, but it will do later and it’s fantastic. Although I’ve been based in Yorkshire for a long time I’m still a Geordie at heart and have a lot of connections here.

“Racing is a great sport to be in as it brings people together. This win is great for the north and great for Newcastle.”

Brian’s wife Claire added: “It’s the first year we’ve had a runner in the race since Brian lost his mam, Mary, so it’s a big thing for the family.

“She would have been so proud. I just closed my eyes near the finish and I’m just about speechless. It’s amazing and is great for the whole team.”

There was another addition to the Geordie ingredient of the winner of the city’s big race because Onesmoothoperator is owned by Patrick Boyle, who lives near the course and works for the national construction company.

He said: “It’s great. The Plate is the biggest race in the North East. We live just around the corner and love having runners here.

“The race went so well for Onesmoothoperator because he has to come late off a strong pace.

“Brian is a great friend and we have lots of family here. Fair play to him and the team and we will be celebrating tonight.”

Brian also sent out Tryfan to win the mile-and-a-half handicap at Gosforth Park on Thursday.

The lightly-raced three-year-old, who was having just his fourth race, got home by three-quarters of a length after rider Ben Robinson drove him into the lead inside the final furlong.

The other successful local trainer at the three-day Plate Festival meeting was Paul Midgley who sent out Elegant Erin to win the five-furlong handicap on Friday evening.

There was also success for Paul Midgley.There was also success for Paul Midgley. (Image: Mike Egerton/PA)

Although out of luck with his runners at Newcastle, it was another successful week for trainer Richard Fahey, who had four winners beginning with Reidh who took a division of the seven-furlong handicap at Thirsk on Monday in the hands of stable jockey Oisin Orr.

Doncaster’s two-day meeting provided him with his three other winners, Minnesota Lad and Glistening Nights, both partnered by Billy Garritty, giving him a double there on Friday afternoon, and Rock Opera gave him a third when winning the six-furlong fillies’ handicap there on Saturday evening.

His Saturday winner was partnered by David Nolan, who is enjoying a remarkable season for not only was the filly his eighth winner in the past fortnight his tally for 2024 now stands at 34, which is only two less than his total for the whole of 2023.

Having begun riding in 1994, David is something of a ‘super sub’ riding for trainers like David O’Meara and Richard Fahey when their main riders are at other meetings.

His best year was in 2018 when he partnered 45 winners, but if things carry on like they are, he should comfortably beat that tally by the end of the year.