1:00 – PKF Francis Clark ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle (GBB Race) (Class 3) (4YO plus) 2m 2½f
The sun was shining on Newton Abbot for their seven-race card on the ground that was described as the easy side of good after the first. That opener featured a short-priced favourite 11/8 into 6/5 chance Calum Gilhooley trained by Graham McPherson and ridden by Kielan Woods.
I think it would be fair to say that the gelding didn’t really look like winning until after the last when it collared 66/1 chance Jack Thunder close home. After the race the winning jockey told Hayley Moore that once his mount wound up to it he rattled home and that he thought he was still on the up and hoped he’d improve again.
The office had a better race than you’d think, they’d laid fourth placed Don’t Go Gentle to the tune of £6000 – £500 and £4480 – £350 both each-way.
1:30 – Newton Abbot Racecourse On Facebook Selling Hurdle (Class 4) (4YO plus) 2m 2½f
It’s not such a common thing as it used to be to have a seller on the card. I was down at the paddock early to see how the mechanics of it would work during the current restrictions. Lovato won at 12/1 for Dr Richard Newland under Cillin Leonard. The jockey said that although he’d sat on the gelding at home where he can be quirky, it was the first time he’d partnered him on course. Adding that when the gaps opened, his mount took him to the finish and that he was delighted with the win.
The auction itself started at £4000 with the stipulation that any winning bid had to be paid today and that the horse had to be taken today too. That may have put off potential buyers but ultimately the winner of a quite competitive seller was led out with no bid.
2:05 – Racing Partnership Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (Class 5) (3YO plus) 2m 1f
The third race went the way of the 7/4 favourite Dariya. Ridden by Tom Buckley (pictured below) and trained by Charlie Longsdon the mare was making a quick reappearance after winning on Saturday. The pilot said after the race that she works very well at home. He added that it was originally thought that she’d need further but they’ve now found her trip, he went on to say that she ran like she’d not been in a race at the weekend, was a little trier and that the cheek pieces had helped.
The office caught a cold with the winner, laying £3500 – £2000 Dariya.
2:40 – newtonabbotracing.com Handicap Hurdle (GBB Race) (Class 2) (4YO plus) 3m 2½f
A combination of a mistake at the last by David Pipe’s Story of Friends and a turn of foot by the winner Ballon Onabudget saw an action-packed finish even after 3m 2f. The 16/5 Tom George trained victor was greeted with whoops and cheers from the Owners’ Balcony replied to by a triumphant raised fist salute from jockey Jonathan Burke. Owned by The Little Faith Syndicate who the jockey enthused were a ‘Great bunch of people’. Certainly vocal, they got their money’s worth of excitement today. Looking an unlikely winner for much of the race, Jonathan told Hayley Moore that the horse deserved the win, adding that he can be a bit keen and can hit a flat spot before finding more than you expect.
It was excellent to hear that the owners at the racecourse had enjoyed their winner. It didn’t appear that they’d backed their horse with Ivor Perry and Co though. They didn’t seem to be doing much business but certainly looked to be making their most of a quiet day in the sun.
3:15 – Racing Partnership Novices’ Handicap Chase (GBB Race) (Class 4) (4YO plus) 2m 5f
Cheltenham de Vaige won the race before the penultimate, for the ever-popular Fergal O’Brien yard, under Paddy Brennan. The office didn’t lay the winner to money but did run into third placed Included, monkey each-way.
There was a bit of fun down on the ATR pitch when commentator Martin Harris whispered in Hayley Moore’s ear that she had inadvertently called the runner-up Midnight Minge! Did she or was he winding her up? I guess we’ll have to watch the recording.
3:50 – Racing Partnership Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase (Class 5) (4YO plus) 3m 2f
After hitting the crossbar earlier, David Pipe was amongst the winners when 9/2 chance Midnight Magic won the penultimate under Jack Tudor. The jockey said that his mount can be quirky, but he came good today, found his own way and appeared to enjoy the odd pull that he had to give him. Unusually for a fancied winner from the Pipe yard it was a good winner in the office after they’d seen bets of £7500 – £1500 and £3000 – £600 Imperial Nemesis which stayed in the hod.
4:25 – I T Electrical Standard Open NH Flat Race (GBB Race) (Class 5) (4YO to 6YO) 2m 1f
Fergal O’Brien’s Paddy Brennan ridden Long Stay was favourite to win the concluding bumper and provide the combination with a double. The office didn’t see a dinar in big money for the jolly and not a lot for anything else but the bogie was Bebraveforglory which attracted a solitary bet of £900 – £450.
The message from the office accompanied by a sign off of ‘Sorry. Quiet day on the South West Coast’ from Inlike Flynn. In the race itself it was a case of Long Stay first the rest nowhere to conclude an excellent day’s racing and doubles for the deadly duo.
Once again a superbly run day by Newton Abbot behind closed doors. This time next year it’ll be heaving to the rafters. Now I’m just off to get ‘Inlike’ an atlas……
Views of authors do not necessarily represent views of Star Sports Bookmakers.
Simon Nott is author of:
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