Newton Abbot Preview Ladies' Day Tuesday 22 August 2017
A big crowd is expected at Newton Abbot tomorrow (Tuesday 22 August) for St Austell Brewery Ladies’ Day, one of the highlights of the season at the popular south Devon course.
Gates open two hours ahead of the opening race, the Babbacombe Scaffolding “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle over an extended two and a quarter miles, which is due off at 5.30pm. Although six runners line up, the finish should be fought out by the two previous winners in the field, Gustave Mahler and Whoshotwho.
Gustave Mahler, who had scored twice before being caught right on the line at Worcester, has struck up a good partnership with champion jockey Richard Johnson and, even with his double penalty, should go close.
Whoshotwho, a wide-margin winner on his last start at the course, has since moved from Nicky Henderson to Dr Richard Newland and, with a 6lb weight advantage, can collect at the first time of asking for new owners Foxtrot Racing.
Next up is the In Memory Of Thomas James Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase in which Brave Helios, owned by the Dozen Dreamers Partnership, might get his head in front. He will be ridden by the experienced David Noonan and, after finishing runner-up twice this season, could take this at the expense of High Aspirations, who has been out of form since rattling up a hat-trick in the first half of 2016, but is now 21lb lower in the weights as a result.
Milrow was bought by trainer Sophie Leech after easily winning a selling race at Stratford on his last run and, with Paddy Brennan in the saddle, should have a good chance from a rating of 127 in the £10,500 Austins Handicap Hurdle.
He was entered in a similar race at the course last week which went to Coeur Tantre, who made all the running to score on his first outing for Dorset trainer Anthony Honeyball. He was allowed to dictate terms that day, but won pretty cosily and a 7lb penalty may not stop him winning again.
Free Stone Hill is one of the 80 horses to have been saddled by Dan Skelton already this season and contributed to the stable’s haul of 55 winners at Stratford in May. He had St Saviour back in third place that day, but Philip Hobbs’ runner is much better off at the weights this time.
Skelton’s Honkytonktennessee put his best foot forward when scoring easily last time out, but the handicapper has punished him accordingly, raising him from a mark of 109 to 120. As a result, he tops the weights in the St Austell Brewery Handicap Chase over two miles and five furlongs and may find Shady Glen, reunited with Paddy Brennan, a tough nut to crack.
Innocent Girl has been mixing hurdling and chasing and trainer Harry Fry has opted to run her in the following Remembering Alfie Truscott The Newton Legend Mares’ Handicap Hurdle. Despite carrying 11-12, she should run her usual good race.
The concluding newtonabbotracing.com Handicap Hurdle sees the largest field of the evening. Calin Du Brizais is a dual course winner over fences this summer and Sporting Boy, having only his second run since July 2015, is another who has form over the bigger obstacles here.
In a wide-open contest, Generous Chief, who is sliding down the handicap, could reward each-way support.
Tickets for the VIP Marquee in the centre of the course, which will feature a pre-racing fashion show from local store Austins, sold out some weeks ago, but there is still space in the Paddock and Course enclosures.
Managing director, Patrick Masterson, said: “The team and I really look forward to Ladies’ Day every year: our racegoers make a real effort to dress up and it gives the racecourse a completely different atmosphere to our other fixtures.”
“We are delighted to be working with St Austell Brewery and Austins Department Store once again this year and are looking forward to welcoming our racegoers to one of the most highly anticipated social dates of our racing season.”
Racing starts at 15.30 and the first race of the evening is 17.30. Tickets can be bought online until 17.00 on Monday 21 August or at the gates on the day but racegoers are reminded that it’s cash only at the gates.