Newton Abbot on a Friday summer night with no punters or bookies, anything less than a huge crowd, never heard of in usual circumstances very sad to see but hopefully something that will consigned to the bin in history marked 2020.
4:35 – oldgoldracing.com Novices’ Hurdle (GBB Race) (Class 4) (4YO plus) 2m 5½f
The first of the nine races went to Fergal O’Brien’s 4/9 favourite Templepark. The winner won impressively, albeit in a heat made easier by the first hurdle departure of main market rival, Paul Nicholls’ The Greater Good but couldn’t have done it any more impressively. The winning trainer was in attendance and appeared delighted with the victory along with connections. Jockey Max Kendrick said after the race that the horse was equally capable over jumps and hurdles and had been placed well to win this. The winner was no good in the office, not only the last leg in a lumpy multiple, but landing bets of £1600 – £3600 and £800 – £1100. It wasn’t as bad as it could have been though, the £70,000 – £5000 each-way Punkawallah came close but no cigar for the punter, fourth behind 40/1 and 100/1 shots which must have been nasty.
5:05 – oldgoldracing.com Get Your Heart Racing Handicap Hurdle (Div 1) (Class 5) (3YO plus) 2m 1f
Solstalla had been an 11/2 chance in the morning, by the off David Weston’s mare was 15/8 favourite, helped in by office bets of £2750 – £500 each-way and £5500 – £2000 each-way. She ran very disappointingly given the support and finished last behind Amy Murphy’s charge Lilypad which returned 9/4. In his post-race interview with Luke Harvey the winning jockey Jack Quinlan said the mare had benefitted from her first real holiday enforced during lockdown and had flourished. Despite nothing of note in bets for the winner, looking back down the field there was bad news for the office was they laid a bet of £20,000 – £2000 each-way Chance It who finished third.
5:35 – oldgoldracing.com Get Your Heart Racing Handicap Hurdle (Div 2) (Class 5) (3YO plus) 2m 1f
Next up a tricky looking handicap, but joint favourite, 7/2 shot Nachi Falls won nicely under a confident ride from Kieren Buckley for trainer Nigel Hawke. Kieren said after his victory that he’d been able to give the gelding a confident ride because he knew he was on a good horse. This was his eighth winner under rules but asked if he’d ever thought about going professional he admitted that he’d had to waste to get down to 11 stone to ride today so was just too big but added he’d love to win the Champion Amateur title before going onto a career in training which he’s obsessed with. The only big bet in the race to trouble the office was a £7000-£2000 for Scotsbrook Night which of course stayed in the hod.
6:05 – oldgoldracing.com Thrill Of Ownership Handicap Hurdle (Class 4) (4YO plus) 3m 2½f
The fourth was a quiet race in the office, just small money for the 11/8 jolly Sammylou. All the shrapnel stayed in the smash tray when 9/2 chance My Lady Grey won nicely by 6 lengths for Colin Tizzard under Adrian Heskin. The jockey said that he probably only got the rare winning ride for the trainer because he was able to do the low weight.
6:35 – Old Gold Racing Handicap Hurdle (Class 3) (4YO plus) 2m 5½f
There was a few quid sloshing around for the next race, a punter had £5000 on Moabit at 10/3 and another £1250 each-way at 3/1, that in addition to a wager of £5000 on Gateway To Europe at 5/2. Moabit finished third, but nothing was a match for the winner Doubly Clever winning at 11/2 for Ben Pauling under an excellent ride from Luca Morgan. The winning jockey said that the gelding thrives at this time of year and that this win made it four from four at Newton Abbot.
Still two hours to the bumper
Wish I’d brought my knitting
— Fergal O’Brien Racing (@FOBRacing) July 24, 2020
7:05 – Old Gold Racing Novices’ Chase (GBB Race) (Class 3) (5YO plus) 2m ½f
There was a late jockey change in the sixth, Harry Cobden was replaced by Sam Twiston-Davies on Paul Nicholls’ charge Ashutor. At the second last it looked like a winning spare ride but ultimately they couldn’t get past the favourite Beat The Judge who ran on tenaciously under Joshua Moore. The result would have pleased the punter that bet a £10,000 – £5000 the winner which returned 11/5. Yes, eleven to five, what’s all that about? Are these prices a determined effort to totally erase traditional racecourse returns? Anyway, winning jockey Josh said that he thought he was going to win the County Hurdle jumping that last, things didn’t go to plan today, but he still won, the horse is a bit of a thinker that needs good ground, adding he’ll probably win on the flat too.
7:35 – Visit oldgoldracing.com Handicap Chase (Class 3) (4YO plus) 3m 2f
Paul Nicholls saddled the favourite Soldier Of Love in the race before the penultimate, Bryony Frost took over in the saddle replacing the absent Harry Cobden. One punter waded in with a bet of £8400 – £7000, well he certainly got his money’s worth, the jolly never looked like winning at any stage until after the last where the gelding forged on to win under a superhuman ride from his jockey. Bryony said that her mount was a little bit of a monkey but had ability, she added with a smile that she needed her ‘superglue’ and that it had been a rough race for the horse but he pulled it out of the fire.
8:05 – Own A Share With oldgoldracing.com Handicap Chase (Class 5) (4YO plus) 2m 5f
The penultimate boasted the biggest field of the day, it was a race marred two out by the fall of the favourite Bubble O’Clock when looking like the winner, the dreaded screens went up in the gloom. The heat went to 4/1 second-in Fenlons Court but in all honesty all eyes were on the second last.
8:35 – Become An Owner With oldgoldracing.com Standard Open NH Flat Race (GBB Race) (Class 5) (4YO to 6YO) 2m 1f
Mick Channon’s Beholden was hot favourite for the concluding bumper but given Fergal O’Brien’s tweet, he was hanging around for the last. You’d have thought he’d have staff if he wasn’t hopeful of a good run from his charge Chaztara. It was a wasted wait for Fergal but an excellent race in which Paul George’s 40/1 shot Little Jessture got up on the line to beat the jolly by a short head, thwarting bets on Beholden which included £15,000 at 8/13, £2800 at 4/6 and a further £2400 at the same price. Great news for the book to end the card.
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