Newton Abbot Preview Tuesday 30 May 2017
Leading trainer at the course Paul Nicholls runs all three of his entries at Newton Abbot this evening, including Volpone Jelois, ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies, in the feature £10,500 Sean Dooners Annual Pilgrimage Handicap Hurdle.
Volpone Jelois comes into the race fit from a run on the Flat at Salisbury last week, when ridden by Nicholls’ daughter Megan. He had a busy time in his native France, running 24 times before joining the Ditcheat trainer at the end of last year and, in receipt of weight from all the other runners, could land his second win over hurdles.
Mr Kit Cat, the selection from three entries for Welsh trainer Evan Williams, ran well behind Instant Karma over the course last summer and looks the danger.
The new jumps season is just four weeks old, but Dan Skelton has been setting a scorching pace at the top of the trainers’ table, having sent out 25 winners going into yesterday’s Bank Holiday programme. He runs Worcester scorer Whatzdjazz in the opening Independent Racecourses Limited (IRL) Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle and she should follow up at the expense of Katy P.
This evening’s race is over a trip just short of two and three-quarter miles, almost two furlongs further than the Worcester contest, but Whatzdjazz ran on strongly from the last flight that day and should cope with the extra distance.
Nicholls saddles Braqueur D’Or in the following Racing Partnership Novices’ Handicap Chase. Previously trained by Rebecca Curtis, he finished third over hurdles at Warwick on his first start for the stable, having been taken around the inside by Twiston-Davies only to run on one-paced in the home straight.
His jumping has to be taken on trust on his chasing debut, unlike the Jeremy Scott trained Day Of Roses, who has proven form over the bigger obstacles, winning by 16 lengths at Fontwell Park last time out.
With 18 declared runners, the Sherwell Valley School Handicap Hurdle boasts the biggest field on the card and it may pay to take a chance with Mexican Border, trained locally at Littlehempston by Martin Hill. His track record of just one win in 18 outings doesn’t look encouraging, but he hit the penultimate flight when challenging the winner in a handicap over the course last July and, provided he can overcome the long absence, could go close.
Hill runs Scorpion Star in the Fred Champion Groundworks Handicap Chase and this three-time point-to-point winner will have the assistance of champion jockey Richard Johnson as he looks for a maiden success under Rules on his first start for the stable.
Runner up in a novices hunter chase at Sedgefield on his previous start, Scorpion Star comes up against more experienced horses here and preference is for Doitforjoe, who was well there until weakening at the second-last fence at Ludlow and should benefit from the shorter distance this time.
There is not much form to go on in the Sports Information Services Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race, but Horse Force One has a point-to-point win to his credit and has returned to Somerset trainer Philip Hobbs for whom he made his debut at Exeter back in May 2015.
The winner of that race has gone on to land three hurdles, as has Lets Go Dutchess, who finished two places behind Horse Force One and, in the absence of market moves for any of the others, he looks the one to be on.
Warwick winner Rebel Rebellion is the final Nicholls runner of the evening in the Totnes And Bridgetown Steeplechase Company Open Hunters’ Chase which brings the card to a close at 8.50pm.
The former racecourse at Broadmarsh in Totnes, where racing took place from the mid 1780’s until September 1938 and involved crossing the River Dart at low tide, is now an industrial estate, but the race company lives on, sponsoring at the course each year and Rebel Rebellion and Bryony Frost have an excellent chance of landing the prize.