Newton Abbot Preview Saturday 2 September 2017
Officials at Newton Abbot will be hoping for another big crowd today before the summer holidays come to an end, when the course stages its richest meeting of the year, with £100,000 in prize money on offer across the Tote-sponsored seven-race card.
Paul Nicholls has again proved the trainer to follow at the course this summer, particularly with his team of good novice chasers. His hurdlers have also been chipping in with wins, including Trevisani, twice successful in novice company with Bryony Frost, and now taking a step up in class in the day’s feature race, the £36,000 Bet totequadpot Handicap Hurdle over two and three-quarter miles.
This Class 2 event has attracted a quality field and, although Trevisani possesses a good finishing kick, he is up against experienced handicappers this time, including course winner Golden Birthday, the mount of Noel Fehily.
The combination have twice been successful this season and, with Golden Birthday having put up an impressive performance here last time, is preferred to stable companion Henryville, who is having his first run over hurdles since competing in a Grade 1 race at Aintree in April 2015.
Whatzdjazz, already a winner of three race this season, represents leading trainer Dan Skelton and Coeur Tantre is seeking a course hat-trick, having made all the running to win both his starts since joining Dorset trainer Anthony Honeyball.
But, in a wide-open race, the vote goes to Wait For Me, the choice from two entries for Somerset trainer Philip Hobbs, who was not beaten far behind Arctic Fire at the Cheltenham Festival before storming six lengths clear of Stowaway Magic at Sandown Park.
There is another good prize on offer for the two-mile Class 3 Bet totetrifecta Handicap Chase and it features two chasers very much on the up in the shape of Theo, seeking a five-timer after wins over both hurdles and fences, and Daulys Anthem, who failed to win in 14 starts before joining Dan Skelton, but then posted two successes within 24 hours at Stratford and at Bangor-on-Dee, where he broke the track record.
Gates will be open two hours before the first race, the Bet toteplacepot Novices’ Hurdle, due off at 2.15pm, in which Colin Tizzard’s Tempestatefloresco reverts to the smaller obstacles after winning Uttoxeter’s Marston’s Pedigree Summer Cup Chase. That race was over three and a quarter miles and he drops back in distance to two miles today, which may not suit him so well.
Bach De Clermont has been given plenty of entries of late and is the choice from three in this race for trainer Evan Williams. He came good at the fifth time of asking at Southwell but, on official ratings, has something to find with Tempestatefloresco.
The trip is two miles and five furlongs for the following Bet totescoop6 Handicap Chase and sees the consistent Innocent Girl revert to jumps after three races over hurdles, having finished runner-up over the course to Ambre Des Marais last month.
She may have to settle for a place again, as Beau Bay won with a lot in hand at Perth and Dr Richard Newland’s runner can overcome a rise in the weights and score again.
Skelton saddles two in the Bet toteexacta Handicap Hurdle over two miles, with Free Stone Hill, a winner at Stratford earlier in the season, allotted 12-2. This looks a pretty tough task and it may pay to side with Tamarillo Grove who, although raised 4lbs for his win over Kublai here last month, still looks well-weighted on a mark of 102.
Longest race of the afternoon is the Bet toteWIN Novices’ Handicap Chase over three and a quarter miles in which Culm Counsellor bids to make it back-to-back course wins for Cullompton trainer Chris Down and jockey Ciaran Gethings. He could face still competition from Jimmy Frost’s Bogoss Du Perret, who met a well-handicapped horse in The Geegeez Geegee and should relish the trip.
Between them, Welsh trainers Tim Vaughan and Bernard Llewellyn accounted over a third of the entries in the concluding Bet totePLACE Handicap Hurdle with Vaughan having five and Llewellyn three.
They still have a strong hand with half the declared runners, but it’s On Alberts Head, who has gone off favourite on his last three runs, who could take this for trainer Neil Mulholland, having finished runner-up on his first start for the stable last month.