Newton Abbot Preview - Friday 13 October
The curtain comes down on the 2017 season at Newton Abbot this Friday, with over £91,000 in prize money on offer across the seven-race card, which gets underway at 14:00 with the British Stallion Studs EBF “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle (Qualifier).
Paul Nicholls has had his string in fine form over the summer, scooping a number of the big races and he has a strong hand in the day’s feature: the Class 2 Weatherbys Racing Bank Intermediate Chase, worth almost £30,000. His four entries are headed by Alcala, five times a winner already this season, including four over the course, who should relish the two miles and five furlongs trip.
Nicholls also has Back Corton, rated just 2lb below his stable companion, who has won his last two races with conditional jockey Bryony Frost. Highest rated horse in the race, however, is Flying Angel, winner of Warwick’s Kingmaker Chase before landing the Grade 1 Manifesto Novices’ Chase over two and a half miles at Aintree, for which he will have to carry a 10lb penalty.
There are 25 entries for the opener, including two promising types from the Harry Fry stable in the shape of Black Mischief, a wide-margin winner at Warwick, and dual bumper winner If The Cap Fits, who finished a close-up fourth in a Class 1 event at Aintree, but is also engaged at Exeter on Thursday.
Nicholls’ Diego Du Charmil made an impressive chasing debut over the course last month to suggest that he can take the Class 3 Eggy Novices’ Chase en route to bigger and better things, with the Arkle Challenge Trophy at next year’s Cheltenham Festival a possible target.
Ballyoptic, who took on the best in long-distance hurdles last season, tops the weights in the Class 2 Weatherbys Racing Bank Handicap Hurdle over three and a quarter miles. He is rated on 157, fully 50lb above course winners Maguire’s Glen and Sutter’s Mill who, like a number of the field, would be disadvantaged at the weights.
Kentford Heiress, beaten just a nose by Sutter’s Mill here in July, would have 2lb more to carry in the Jon Hearne Memorial Mares’ Handicap Hurdle over two and three-quarter miles, but could gain just reward for her consistency over the summer at the expense of Worcester winner G For Ginger.
Nicholls has just one entry in the Kelso Races Supports The South West Chase (A Novices’ Limited Handicap) of over three and a quarter miles with The Last But One, still a maiden after five starts, and it may pay to take a chance with Sutter’s Mill, if trainer Evan Williams elects to run him in this race, rather than the earlier hurdle.
With 24 entries and not a lot of form to go on, the Weatherbys Bank Foreign Exchange Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race looks a trappy finale to the season, but dual point-to-point winner Cereal Killer is an interesting recruit to the Nicholls yard and Supakalanistic, hampered when third at Warwick in May, could put his experience to good use.
For racegoers looking to add something a little extra special to their afternoon, the Fizz Friday package is still available – Paddock entry, a racecard and either a mini bottle of sparkling wine with a cream tea, or a drinks voucher and a pork roll for £30. Deadline for booking this great deal is 17:00 this Thursday (12.10.17).
Reflecting on the season, managing director Patrick Masterson said “Once again, racegoers have been treated to some terrific racing and great horses. With over £1m of prize money on offer this year, we have been able to host some fantastic racing here at Newton Abbot.
“We would like to thank all owners and trainers who have supported us in 2017 for the wonderful racing they have given us. We wish them every success over the winter and look forward to seeing them again next Easter.”
Tickets cost £12 for Course Enclosure, or £19 for Paddock Enclosure. Tickets can be purchased online here until 17.00 on Thursday 12, or can be purchased direct from the Newton Abbot office or by calling 01626 353235. Tickets will also be available on the gates on the day: gates open at 12:00, first race starts at 14:00.
Children aged 16 and under plus students with a valid student ID / NUS card go free to all fixtures.
For more information, visit www.newtonabbotracing.com or call the racecourse office on 01626 353235.