Newton Abbot Preview Sunday 23 July
A big crowd is expected on Sunday for Newton Abbot’s annual Family Fun Raceday, at which trainer Paul Nicholls will be out to lift the afternoon’s big race with multiple-winner Bagad Bihoue.
Nicholls consolidated his position as leading trainer at the track when Braqueur D’Or landed the feature Racing Partnership TRP Novices’ Handicap Chase at the last meeting, the third time in a row he has scooped the day’s major prize.
His run can continue in Sunday’s feature Packexe Protecting What Matters Novices’ Chase in which he saddles Bagad Bihoue, running here in preference to a race at Stratford the same afternoon. Bagad Bihoue has been well placed to win three chases, having faced only seven opponents in all, but he jumped well when making all the running to slam Kayf Blanco here last month.
Vosne Romanee was never out of first gear when beating Stealing Mix at Stratford. He was ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies that day, but he will have a new jockey tomorrow in Aidan Coleman, who has a 58% strike rate in the last fortnight and, with 36 winners, has closed the gap on title leader Richard Johnson to just three.
Valshan Time was tailing off when unseating James Best three fences from home in the Stratford race and it is difficult to see him getting any closer to the pace tomorrow.
Johnson will be reunited with Ivor’s Queen, on whom he won a novice hurdle at the track 13 months ago. Colin Tizzard’s mare was headstrong in her earlier days, but races with more restraint now, although she needs to step up on her only chase to date when falling at Exeter.
The meeting kicks off at 2.20pm with the Racing Partnership TRP Novices’ Handicap Hurdle over two miles in which Warwickshire-based trainer Olly Murphy relies on Knight Commander, ridden by Johnson, from his three entries.
Formerly trained by Murphy’s mother Anabel, he will be making his handicap debut and may lose out to Arty Campbell, who pulled up on his last appearance at the course, but whose overall form should see him go close this time.
Dual course winner Horse Force One makes his jumping debut in the John Bircham Memorial Maiden Hurdle and will be fancied to complete his hat-trick and give Johnson another winner. Southwell bumper scorer Whoshotwho made a pleasing debut over hurdles at Uttoxeter behind Lovato and should improve for the experience, whilst Phoenix Park, third in an Irish point-to-point on his only run, makes his debut for the David Dennis stable
Phoenix Dawn, a winner over a mile on the Flat, made a promising debut over jumps when going down in a photo finish to Taxmeifyoucan at Stratford last Sunday and sets the standard in the Packexe Over The Edge Juvenile Hurdle.
Amadeus Rox hasn’t set the world alight in seven runs so far, but will have been well prepared by trainer Alan King. The same can be said about Neil Mulholland’s Charlie Rascal, who has a similar Flat profile, and another of interest is French-bred Vision De Gloire, who will be seeing a racecourse for the first time.
Calin Du Brizais looks to have a good chance of landing a third win at the course in the SIS Handicap Chase, with the likely danger coming from Patricktom Boru, who ran Fort Gabriel close at the last meeting. Martin Hill’s Beuvron was outpaced back in third that day and, although dropped 2lbs in the ratings, still looks a bit high in the weights.
The Nicholls-trained Bistouri D’Honore returned to form here on his last run and could go well in the Newtonabbotracing.com Handicap Hurdle for Bryony Frost, who had her first winner as a professional jockey this week.
Course winner Kentford Heiress is a tentative selection in the day’s longest race, the SIS Trading Services Handicap Hurdle over three and a quarter miles, which brings racing to a close.
To celebrate the racecourse’s Family Fun Raceday, there will be a free magic show, balloon modelling and facepainting in the Family Enclosure from 14.00 to 16.30. Children aged 16 and under plus students with a valid photographic student ID / NUS card.
Tickets cost £12 for Course Enclosure, or £19 for Paddock Enclosure. Tickets are available at the racecourse’s online ticket store until 17.00 on Saturday 22 July or can be purchased on the day. Gates open two hours before the first race and there is ample free parking using the Greenhill Way entrance.