SIMON NOTT: Newton Abbot Tuesday On Course Report

It was the first racing at Newton Abbot for 10 months, the course had been plagued with bad luck with the elements last season and then Covid-19. It must have been an excellent feeling for all those at Newton Abbot to get the show on the road and host nine races. Managing Director Pat Masterson seemed very upbeat before racing as did Clerk of the Course Jason Loosemore.

Everything worked like clockwork entering the racecourse, temperature tests done on the way in, I felt very privileged to have been granted access to what would go down as a bit of history for the course. It was very strange stood in the betting ring on a sunny day which would usually have been packed with holiday makers and racegoers.

The office reported some lively early money for Hidden Glen in the 2.20 7/1 into 5/2, Jimmy The Digger 9/2 into 15/8 in the 3.10, and Beholden 8/1 into 3/1 in the concluding bumper. Daily market movers can be found on our Starter’s Orders page https://www.starsportsbet.co.uk/42677-2/

Before racing ….

1:40 – Maidencombe Juvenile Hurdle (GBB Race) (Class 4) (3YO only) 2m 1f

The opening race saw a short-priced favourite in the shape of Nick Williams’ Hector de Sivola which was backed fairly steadily from even money to 4/5 in the office. Bets included £2000-£2000 £1000-£1100, £3000-£3300, £400- £500, £5000-£6000, £1000- £1200. Those punters had very little hope throughout the race finishing a never nearer 5th behind 9/2 winner Hiconic trained by Alex Hales and ridden by Kielan Woods.

2:10 – Denbury Handicap Hurdle (Div 1) (Class 5) (4YO plus) 2m 5½f

Next up and Hidden Glen had been the feature of a gamble despite form figures of PPP, there was a little bet on him in the live show, a couple of monkeys bet at 7/4 and 15/8. Emma Lavelle’s Tara Niece spoilt the party winning at 8/1 with gamble back in second. There had been some shrewd each-way money for No Cruise Yet backed from 14/1 into 10/1 but got chinned for third by 80/1 chance Perle Rose.

2:40 – Denbury Handicap Hurdle (Div 2) (Class 5) (4YO plus) 2m 5½f

This will be a meeting that trainer Oliver Signy will remember with affection after 5/1 chance Etat Major Aulmes provided him with his first winner as a trainer under Gavin Sheehan. He told Luke Harvey that he bought the horse at the Doncaster Sales and was lucky to be able to give it some time. The team are just Oliver, his wife Kathrine and Albert who led the horse up.

As far as betting went it was a very slow race with just one bet of note and that was £2500 on Prophets Player at 7/2 and just £150 on the winner at 6/1.

Oliver Signy leads up Etat Major Alumes, his first winner as a trainer.
Oliver’s post race interview with Luke Harvey

3:10 – Ogwell Novices’ Hurdle (GBB Race) (Class 4) (4YO plus) 2m 2½f

The next heat was livelier with bets of £9000- £2000 each-way Referee, £6000 – £3000 Jimmy The Digger and £2400 – £2000 and an even £8000 the winning favourite Ashutor trained by Paul Nicholls and ridden by Harry Cobden (pictured below). That confidence was easily justified the winner looked a class above his rivals.

3:45 – Haccombe Handicap Hurdle (Class 4) (4YO plus) 3m 2½f

There were a few decent bets in the next, the biggest was for His Ground £7000 – £2000, Watching Brief attracted some modest wagers including several at 12/1 each-way. David Brace’s charge finished third at 11/2 to bag the shrewdies some value place winnings. The race went to 6/1 chance Sammylou who scored quite cosily. Trainer Graeme McPherson joked after the race that ‘It’s been such a long time I’d forgotten what it was like’ before explaining how pleased he was with the win, the horse has to be switched off early then come late. He went on to say how well jockey Kielan Woods is riding. He was especially pleased that the owners were present to watch their gelding win.

Sammylou ridden by Kielan Woods (nearside) gets up to beat Classic Escape to win the Haccombe Handicap Hurdle at Newton Abbot Racecourse.

4:20 – Tuckenhay Handicap Hurdle (Class 4) (3YO plus) 2m 1f

There was a thrilling finish to the next with Emma Lavelle’s 4/1 chance Shiroccan Roll just getting the better of a tussle with Shaun Lycett’s Hallings Comet by a head. In a post-race interview Emma said that they had made the most of lockdown with the yard power-washed and painted by staff, none of whom were laid off. It seems to have paid off too, the horses have returned in sparkling form. Bets of note in the race were £3333- £1000 on Global Tour which ran very disappointingly, £400 on Hereia which ran moderately too. One punter did find the winner who had a carpet on at 4/1.

4:50 – Babbacombe Handicap Chase (Class 3) (4YO plus) 2m 5f

Emma Lavelle was straight back in the Winners’ Enclosure after Irish Prophecy won the race before the penultimate. Lord Bryon was the subject of a bet of £14,400 – £1600 each-way so getting that one out of frame was handy. The winner returned 8/1 but one punter did manage to find it to the tune of £100 at 10/1 with the boys in the office. As the on-course bookies used to say after a good result, ‘They’d be happy to pay him’.

5:20 – Kingkerswell Handicap Chase (Class 5) (4YO plus) 2m 5f

The penultimate was a competitive event on paper betting around the 4/1 the field the eight runners. So it proved with punters betting several horses but to modest stakes. Bets included, £1600 – £400 and £900-£200 on Duc Kauto plus bits and bobs for Bubble O’Clock which had been well nibbled. Adam Wedge got his treble up winning on Evan Williams’ Oxwich Boy which sadly for the book attracted bets of £3000 – £500 and £1100 -£200 despite returning 7/1.

I spoke to Managing Director Patrick Masterson between the last two races. He was quite rightly pleased with the way everything had gone today. He explained that today had been a month in the planning and although it seemed quite unreal at times it was satisfying to see it come to fruition. He told me that it had cost £25,000 to put this meeting on and that it had been an extremely difficult time with virtually no income for getting on for a year. He said that his two priorities had been to look after his staff who he’d employed personally over the 30 years he’d been in charge and to ensure that there was a viable business to carry on with once this crisis is over. He said that he’d had tremendous support from his board of directors in achieving both. Anyone who knows Pat will be aware the passion he has for Newton Abbot Racecourse so it was very good to see him so upbeat and happy to be staging racing again.

5:50 – Lustleigh Standard Open NH Flat Race (GBB Race) (Class 5) (4YO to 6YO) 2m 1f

I don’t think anyone has ever had to write, ‘the ninth race at Newton Abbot’ before so am pleased to do so for the first time. The bumper had seen a weak favourite in Paul Nicholls’ Bob Pebble during the day. That continued in the live betting with Mick Channon’s Beholden going off 15/8 favourite by the off. The one I’d have loved to have won was my late boss Ivor Perry’s namesake Ivorsalegend but at 150/1 it looked unlikely and so it proved. Despite the drift, one punter did have a £10,000 – £5000 Bob Pebble but it was Beholden that proved that the money had talked in the race, winning impressively. Punters had nibbled Mick Channon’s gelding early to small stakes but the only bet of note was a £1350 – £600. A bullet dodged concluding what had been an excellent days racing, sorry to rub it in to people that weren’t lucky enough to be here, but it was fantastic to be back racing at Newton Abbot.

Simon Nott


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Simon Nott is author of:
Skint Mob! Tales from the Betting Ring CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS