Newton Abbot Preview Tuesday 29 August 2017
The meetings are coming thick and fast at Newton Abbot just now and today the course stages the last of this year’s evening fixtures featuring the £11,500 Racing Partnership TRP Novices’ Chase.
Former champion trainer Paul Nicholls has a good team of novice chasers that have been making hay whilst the sun has shone over the summer and he had four entries in this two miles and five furlongs contest, including multiple winners Alcala and Bagad Bihoue.
With Bagad Bihoue declared at Cartmel yesterday, it’s Alcala who will be looking to add to his three course wins this year and has just two opponents, including Exxaro, whom he beat by 33 lengths when they met here in June.
Interestingly, Exxaro was sent off favourite that day, but Alcala will be a short price to confirm the form and should have a pretty straightforward task.
With the nights drawing in, the seven-race card starts at 4.35pm with the Actuate Marketing Handicap Hurdle over two and three-quarter miles and Premier Rose will be a popular choice to follow up her easy Southwell success. Previously without a win in 15 starts under rules for Powys trainer Katy Price, she is yet another to have benefited from a move to Dan Skelton’s burgeoning Warwickshire stable.
Skelton is putting the knowledge gained during his nine-year spell as assistant to Nicholls to good use, having sent out 56 winners already this season, including Get Ready Freddy whom he saddles in the following newtonabbotracing.com Handicap Chase over two miles.
Skelton will be hoping that Get Ready Freddy can bounce back after being collared on the run-in by Sky Of Stars over hurdles at Market Rasen last time. That race was over two and a quarter miles and a drop down in trip should help but, now back over fences, he races off a handicap mark of 100 compared with 80 when successful ay Worcester.
He may face strong competition from the consistent Third Act, who is not the most prolific of winners and is still looking for his first success over fences, but ran a good second to Going For Broke at the course last month.
Amanto had been busy on the Flat before re-appearing over hurdles at Worcester on the first day of the month, finishing runner-up to Jacobite Rising, after making a mistake at the last. The winner rather let the form down when beaten a long way under a penalty last week, but he should have every chance in the sis.tv Maiden Hurdle, where the main danger looks to be Watcombe Heights.
Trained locally at Littlehempston by Martin Hill, Watcombe Heights made a pleasing comeback after a long absence to chase home all-the-way winner Gettysburg Address here two weeks ago and, if coming on for the race, could give Amanto most to do on just his fourth start.
Whilst Watcombe Heights was running on that day, Snow Castle weakened quickly after the third-last flight but, if back to the form he showed at Ffos Las earlier, could be in the mix.
Berry De Carjac sprang a 20-1 surprise when making all the running with Catherine Walton in an amateur riders’ race at Stratford last Thursday and the combination could follow up under a 7lb penalty in The Remembering Dear Lauren Scott Memorial Handicap Hurdle.
Despite an awkward jump at the last flight, Berry De Carjac was never in danger from a long way out, winning on his first start for trainer Grace Harris, having failed to score in 17 races previously for Nigel Hawke. Top-weight Aldrin, who began life running in the colours of Godolphin, won easily at Bangor-on-Dee on his third start for David Pipe and although a four-year-old carrying 11-12 against seasoned handicappers, can’t be ruled out.
Longest race of the evening is the Happy 65th Birthday Woolfy Handicap Chase over three and a quarter miles and it could go to Desert Sting, who was an impressive scorer at Stratford on his return to the Oliver Greenall stable, but needs to put a couple of disappointing subsequent efforts behind him.
With 13 runners, the concluding Attheraces Mares’ Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race sees the biggest field on the card and, with little form to go on, Skelton’s newcomer Dontdillydally is a tentative selection.