I don’t like that Newton Abbot without racegoers is starting to become familiar and feel normal. Let’s hope it’s all soon a bad memory soon enough. For those owners who were able to attend and viewers at home watching on At The Races there was a decent eight-race card to look forward to.
1:00 – NewtonAbbotRace On Twitter Beginners’ Chase (GBB Race) (Class 3) (5YO plus) 3m 2f
Five went to post in the opener. Paul Nicholls’ promising Southfield Harvest was sent off at ‘bottle-on’ 1/2 to oblige under Bryony Frost. One Star Sports customer appeared to think the gelding was a good thing having £20,000 on at 8/15, that on top of a £800 – £1300 placed by a value-seeking early bird. They both copped. Whilst the favourite never really looked like getting beaten it did run a bit green before coasting clear winning by six lengths. Paul Nicholls shouted across the winners’ enclosure that he’d stay forever in the mud in the winter.
1:30 – Sky Sports Racing On Sky 415 Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (GBB Race) (Class 3) (4YO plus) 2m 5½f
‘Inlike’ Flynn reporting from the Star Sports office told me that the second race had been a quieter affair with no notable bets. Of those horses that had been backed. Dragon Bones and Largy G were the two losers in the book. They finished first and third respectively, with 66/1 chance Dancing Dani separating them by just a nose in second. The Ian Williams’ trained winner won very cosily by 2 ½ lengths under Robert Dunne and returned the 5/6 favourite.
2:00 – Talk Tidy Marketing Novices’ Hurdle (GBB Race) (Class 3) (4YO plus) 2m 1f
I had the pleasure of interviewing Fergal O’Brien on the telephone yesterday. The only horsebox I passed on the way down to Newton Abbot was Fergal’s. The only decent bets in the Star Sports book were £2750 – £1000 and £1100 – £400 were on Fergal’s charge Trailboss. The gelding duly obliged under a confident ride from Paddy Brennan winning nicely from 40/1 chance Colden’s Dream. If I was a decent punter I’d have been on wouldn’t I. A great start to Ravenwell Farm’s season at Newton Abbot.
2:30 – Racing Partnership TRP Handicap Chase (GBB Race) (Class 2) (5YO plus) 2m 5f
There were no big bets from ‘Inlike’ in the next, but he told me, ‘Eritage by far the most popular at the 7/2 mark with Fidux the only other loser.’ We were treated to an excellent race, it might have been even better had Pink Eyed Pedro not made a rick at the second last leaving jockey Jack Tudor very little chance of staying on board. That mishap left Colin Tizzard’s 7/1 chance Kauto The King and 13/2 shot Huntsman Sam to fight it out. The former got home by a battling short head under Brendan Powell. In his post-race interview the winning jockey said that he hoped the fallen jockey was OK adding that his mount was up in grade but kept finding when it needed to and that it was great to ride a winner for his old firm.
3:05 – newtonabbotracing.com Handicap Chase (Class 3) (5YO plus) 3m 2f
Eight went to post after two defections from the original 10-runner heat. Colin Tizzard’s Highest Sun was the one the industry prices suggested was all the rage, clipped into favourite just before the off. The gelding had played second fiddle in that department to Paul Nicholls’ Soldier Of Love in the early betting. Flynn’s news from the Star Sports office bore out the market move, they’d laid a bet of £33,000 – £12,000 Highest Sun topped up with a monkey at 11/4 from another punter.
The race started dramatically when Bryony Frost parted company with Soldier Of Love at the first. This left Highest Sun with a hot favourite’s chance on paper. All looked to be going to plan until Hill Sixteen came to challenge going well under Sam Twiston-Davies, briefly looking like the winner. The Tizzard horse battled on again though only for 12/1 stablemate Christmas In April to come with a wet sail at the second last and ultimately win going away by a couple or more lengths under Brendan Powell. That was a double on the day for jockey and the Tizzard yard, but maybe not the one they were expecting. Brendan Powell said after the race that his mount stays very well, he’d been riding him hoping he might get third but he picked up at the second last.
Flynn was happy too, telling me that, (as you’d expect) the winner was a great result.
3:35 – St Austell Brewery Handicap Hurdle (Class 3) (4YO plus) 2m 1f
Flynn was on to me before the off in the race before the penultimate, Heross Du Seuil had attracted a bet of an even £10,000 plus some smaller ones in three-figures. There were also nibbles on Amarillo Sky. It was that latter interest that proved the shrewdest. The 7/4 chance veritably hosed in racking up a treble for the Colin Tizzard yard on the card and a winner for jockey Jonjo O’Neill Jr who told Mick Fitzgerald that his mount likes it his own way out in front and that he’ll be a chaser for the future.
4:07 – Watch Free Race Replays On attheraces.com Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (Div 1) (Class 5) (4YO plus) 2m 2½f
There was not a lot doing in the office for the penultimate. Maybe a bit too tricky for the bigger punters. Flynn told me that Neetside & Baladame were the popular bets, the field winning for the book. That means they won over Paddy Brennan and Fergal O’Brien completing a double on the day’s card with 7/2 chance As High Say winning despite making a mess of the last. Winning over a Fergal O’Brien second favourite might well be a luxury not repeated that often in the future.
4:40 – Watch Free Race Replays On attheraces.com Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (Div 2) (Class 5) (4YO plus) 2m 2½f
13 went to post for the ‘Lucky’ last, betting was tight, Fergal O’Brien’s She’s A Novelty under Paddy Brennan heading the market at 7/2. Incidentally, there were around 100 owners present today. The racecourse went to the expense of hiring a big screen for them. That tells you a lot about Newton Abbot.
The O’Brien yard had to settle for just the two at the meeting, the race going to Neil Mulholland’s 9/1 chance Sainte Doctor ridden by Aiden Coleman. Flynn reported that there was very little doing on the race so nothing to report, but I’ve reported it anyway.
People may have been worried that after his fall Jack Tudor gave up his last race ride on David Pipe’s To Fly Free. Mick Fitzgerald told me that it was just a precaution and that although bruised he wasn’t badly hurt. Put ‘badly’ in tough as old boots jump jockey perspective. At least that was a fairly good note to end a what turned out to be a sun-drenched day at the races on.
Views of authors do not necessarily represent views of Star Sports Bookmakers.
Simon Nott is author of:
Skint Mob! Tales from the Betting Ring
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