Newton Abbot Race Report Tuesday 29 August 2017
Alcala made it four wins at Newton Abbot this season, and a fifth success in all, when taking Tuesday evening’s feature £11,500 Racing Partnership TRP Novices’ Chase for trainer Paul Nicholls.
Ten-times champion Nicholls has a good team of novice chasers that have been making hay whilst the sun has shone over the summer and he chose Alcala from his four entries in this two miles and five furlongs contest. Alcala had already chalked up three course wins this year, as well as landing the valuable Betfred Summer Plate at Market Rasen, and he faced just two opponents, including Exxaro, whom he beat by 33 lengths when they met here in June.
The distance between them this time was just one and a half lengths but, having jumped well in the lead, Alcala was never really threatened as he and Sam Twiston-Davies notched up another win.
Dan Skelton was assistant to Nicholls during the golden years of Kauto Star, Master Minded, Denman and Big Buck’s and he looks to be putting the knowledge gained during his nine-year spell to good use, having sent out 56 winners already this season from his Warwickshire base.
He saddled Premier Rose in the opening Actuate Marketing Handicap Hurdle over two and three-quarter miles and punters had no doubt that she would follow up her easy Southwell win, sending her off the hot 4-9 favourite.
Improving horses from other stables has been a feature of Skelton’s rise to the top of his profession and, without a win in 15 starts under Rules for Powys trainer Katy Price, Premier Rose duly landed her second success for the stable, proving too good for top-weight Byron Blue in the home straight.
Skelton was looking to Get Ready Freddy to give him a quick double in the following newtonabbotracing.com Handicap Chase over two miles, as he reverted to the bigger obstacles after being collared on the run-in by Sky Of Stars over hurdles at Market Rasen last time.
With that race being run over a quarter mile further, a drop down in trip looked to be in his favour, but the handicapper had increased his mark by a whopping 20lbs following his Worcester win to a career-high of 100.
In the end, the rise proved to be too much, as Get Ready Freddy couldn’t reel in course winner Accessallareas, who made all the running with conditional jockey Charlie Hammond to give Leominster trainer Sarah-Jayne Davies her second success of the season.
Trained locally at Littlehempston by Martin Hill, Watcombe Heights had made a pleasing comeback after a long absence to chase home all-the-way winner Gettysburg Address here two weeks ago and was well-backed from 5-2 into 11-10 favourite to see off Amanto in the sis.tv Maiden Hurdle.
Punters got it spot on, as Jeremiah McGrath took Watcombe Heights into the lead with a circuit of the course to run and seal victory with a good jump at the last flight, with Amanto unable to close the gap on the run to the line.
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, Despite an awkward jump at the last flight, he 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.
But, bookmakers weren’t so generous second time around, as Berry De Carjac was just 2-1 to follow up under a 7lb penalty in The Remembering Dear Lauren Scott Memorial Handicap Hurdle. He again made a mistake at the last as Salto Chisco came to challenge, going by down by a half a length to the Harry Bannister ridden winner.
Longest race of the evening was the Happy 65th Birthday Woolfy Handicap Chase over three and a quarter miles and it went to 11-2 shot Charlie Mon, who was another to make all the running. This was only the second win in 24 starts under Rules for Charlie Mon but, for his jockey Charlie Hammond, it brought up a double on the evening and a 12th career success.
Champion jockey Richard Johnson had just one ride on the card with Thelunarschooner in the concluding Attheraces Mares’ Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race. His trip proved to be worthwhile, as she put her experience to good use to beat Tangoed and Lilliput Lane.
The racecourse is getting ready for their last weekend fixture of the season on Saturday 2 September. Racing starts at 14.15 with gates opening at 12.15. Tickets can be bought at the racecourse’s online ticket store until 17.00 on Friday 1 September. Tickets will also be available at the gates on the day.