Newton Abbot Preview - Easter Saturday 15 April 2017
Newton Abbot Racecourse is looking forward to fine weather this weekend for the Easter Saturday fixture with a seven-race card topped by the Class 2 Frank Loosemore Memorial Handicap Chase.
Despite the loss of last week’s meeting, there will still be 17 fixtures scheduled through the summer, including a Family Day planned for the start of the school holidays on July 23.
One trainer who will be going flat out over the next three weeks is Paul Nicholls, who is seeking his eleventh title. At the start of this week, he had notched up 152 winners, just short of his career best total but, with the championship based on prize money not wins, he trailed Nicky Henderson by over £300,000.
Nicholls, who is the leading trainer at the course, has four entries in the feature race on Saturday, topped by the 144-rated Irish Saint, who has been lightly raced this season and has slipped down the weights. Caid Du Berlais ran twice at the Cheltenham Festival, falling at the first fence in the Ultima Handicap Chase before finishing eighth over hurdles.
Orbasa has also had a light campaign with just four runs but, even though his rating has dropped from 135 to 129, it is difficult to see him winning and he has an alternative engagement at Haydock Park. The novice Alcala completes the quartet, but this would be a stiff task on just his fourth outing over fences.
Minehead trainer Philip Hobbs has two entries in course winner Al Alfa and the consistent Drumlee Sunset, although the latter looks high enough in the weights given what he has actually achieved in four runs over the bigger obstacles.
Gates will open at 11.55am, two hours before the first race, and the first 200 children to arrive will receive a free Easter egg. Prices start at £12, but entry is free for 16s and under, as well as students with valid identification. Once inside the course, children will be treated to an “Easter Eggstravaganza” with family activities and fun in the racecourse’s new dedicated children’s play area.
Looking ahead to Saturday, managing director Patrick Masterson said: “The Easter Special is always a fun day out for families and a chance for children to experience the excitement of a day at the races, possibly for the first time.”
“The racecourse welcomes crowds of people through the gates for this event and we are expecting a great turnout this year. Where else can you experience such excitement and fun in a beautiful setting?
“We want racing to be accessible to everyone and are continuing our free entry for children and students to give them the opportunity to come along and see for themselves what a brilliant day out horse racing offers. We hope they will keep coming back, as it is these children and teenagers who will be spectators, owners, jockeys and trainers in years to come.”