SIMON NOTT: Newton Abbot | On Course Report

It was an autumnal sort of day, damp and blustery, quite fitting, concluding what must have been one of the strangest years racing in Newton Abbot’s history. The meeting survived a precautionary morning inspection and raced on heavy going.

1:28 – Weatherbys Stallion Book Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (Class 4) (4YO plus) 3m 2½f

The opening race went to the 11/10 favourite, Evan Williams’ charge Memphis Belle, ridden by his daughter Isabel. The six-year-old mare continued her fine form winning easily by four lengths from 15/2 chance Get An Oscar. Talking to At The Races’ Luke Harvey after the race, evidently thrilled, the winning jockey told him that the step up in trip had helped the mare and that today’s 3m 2f brought the best out of her. She added that the mare races on and off the bridle and sometimes runs left and can still be a little bit green.

As you might anticipate, the winner was no good for the office. Ed, marking my card today, told me that the office had laid a bet of £2275 – £1400 and that the jolly was the only loser in the book.

The winner was flagged up in this morning’s ‘Market Movers’ section as one of the day’s best backed horses.

1:58 – newtonabbotracing.com Handicap Hurdle (Class 4) (3YO plus) 2m 5½f

Mille Sussurri won the next for Harry Fry under Sean Bowen. The gelding was sent off at 15/8 favourite and did the business nicely. Speaking after the race, the trainer said that the winner was still a bit immature and is learning how to do the job properly. When asked about the ground he said that his charge handled it well enough but might like it a little better, adding that he’d over-raced in his two runs in maiden hurdles. For those that like to read about bookies losing, it hadn’t been the heaviest of betting races, but the office did manage to run into a brace of £900-£400 bets the winner.

IN-RUNNING PLAYERS GO TO NEW EXTREMES TO GET AN EDGE

2:28 – Weatherbys E-Passport Novices’ Hurdle (GBB Race) (Class 4) (4YO plus) 2m 2½f

Metier had been well-backed in the live market, 4/1 into 9/4 favourite before absolutely bolting up in what commentator Simon Holt described as a canter. The winner provided trainer Harry Fry and jockey Sean Bowen with a quick-fire double on the card. After the race the jockey said that his mount had loved the ground and jumped so well nothing was going to take the lead, he added that as the gelding has such a high cruising speed he just let him stride on. And win he did, unchallenged. The winner was a small loser for the office attracting bets of £2400 – £800 and £1000 – £400 but were saved with third-placed Gold Link coming in for bigger support including a single bet of £2000.

2:58 – Devon Heat Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (Class 4) (3YO plus) 2m 1f

I got a message from Ed in the office during the race, Jeremy Scott’s Kerb Line made up a ‘one-horse’ book with bets including £6000 and £2000 at 13/8 and £2500 at 6/4. Luckily for the book, but no doubt very disappointing for connections, Kerb Line didn’t feature in the finish. The race went to Seamus Mullins’ charge The Raven’s Return who under a great ride by Daniel Sansom eventually got the better of a battle with Jack Valentine and returned 9/2.

3:28 – Weatherbys Racing Bank Handicap Chase (Class 3) (4YO plus) 2m 5f

Arian was seven lengths clear with the race at her mercy when she fell at the last in similar conditions at Ffos Las back in March. Jockey Tom O’Brien admitted that it had gone through his head approaching the last obstacle when clear in the race before the penultimate. Luckily for the pilot, trainer Philip Hobbs and owner Mel Mathias, history was not to repeat itself, the 5/2 chance cleared it and went on to win by nearly four lengths from the 9/4 Momella here today. Tom O’Brian added that she’d deserved the win.

3:58 – NewtonAbbotRace On Twitter Handicap Chase (Class 5) (4YO plus) 3m 2f

The last jump race of Newton Abbot’s year went to 3/1 favourite Crossley Tender winning in testing conditions under a 11-13. Jockey Nick Scholfield was keen to sing the praises of the winning trainer Paul Henderson. The jockey went on to say that he let his mount see his fences and ground where ever he could. He added that the gelding has had a few niggles in the past. There had been a word for 18/1 chance Don’t Be Robin which ran well to finish third, the office even saw small each-way money for it at big prices but precious little for anything else.

4:28 – Looking Forward To Easter Saturday 2021 Standard Open NH Flat Race (GBB Race) (Class 5) (4YO to 6YO) 2m 1f

There were flip-flopping favourites plus late money for Tim Vaughan’s Noahthirtytwored in the concluding bumper in what appeared to be a lively market. Just it shame it wasn’t in the hustle and bustle of the usually busy Newton Abbot betting ring.

But out on the turf it was Oliver Sherwood’s Grandeur d’Ame first, the rest nowhere. The winner returned 9/2 in splendid isolation. An impressive win that concluded the year’s racing at Newton Abbot, the racecourse has kept the Westcountry jumping flag flying during these bleak times. Here’s hoping that we are looking back at this last race and it’s title from an absolutely heaving Newton Abbot racecourse on Easter Saturday 2021 and gazing forward to an absolutely barnstorming year ahead for the course. Everyone involved here certainly deserves it.

See you there.

Simon Nott


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Simon Nott is author of:
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