Newton Abbot Report Saturday 2 September 2017
Golden Birthday was the star of the show at Newton Abbot’s richest meeting of the season on Saturday, landing the feature £36,000 Bet totequadpot Handicap Hurdle in spectacular style in front of another packed holiday crowd.
As well as having been champion trainer ten times, Paul Nicholls has helped launch successful careers for two of his former assistants, Dan Skelton and Harry Fry. They both had runners in the feature and, whilst Skelton heads this season’s championship table, it was Fry who came out on top in the race with Golden Birthday, an impressive winner at the course last time and now landing his third win of the season.
Jumping to the front at the first flight, Golden Birthday bowled along at the head of affairs until sent clear of his rivals by Noel Fehily after the third-last, quickly opening up a ten-length gap which he maintained with ease to the line. Running on from the back to snatch second place was favourite Wait For Me, but he could never get near enough to mount a challenge.
There was an upset in the opening Bet toteplacepot Novices’ Hurdle, when 4-7 favourite Tempestatefloresco, reverting to the smaller obstacles after winning Uttoxeter’s Marston’s Pedigree Summer Cup Chase, could only finish second behind Saxo Jack.
Disputing the lead with Simple As That from the off, Tempestatefloresco needed to make his stamina count, but Harry Cobden didn’t set a strong enough pace to get his main rivals in trouble. Turning for home, the odds-on favourite had Southwell winner Bach De Clermont for company but, having seen off that rival, he then faced a new challenge from Saxo Jack, who had been anchored near the rear of the field by Paddy Brennan early on, but was now travelling ominously well alongside.
Despite putting in the better jumps over the last two hurdles, Tempestatefloresco, who has been racing over longer distances, couldn’t match the speed of Saxo Jack, who was two lengths to the good at the line.
The trip was two miles and five furlongs for the following Bet totescoop6 Handicap Chase and Beau Bay, who had won with a lot in hand at Perth, headed the market at 7-4 to follow up.
Given a positive ride by Sam Twiston-Davies, Beau Bay was jumping well at the head of the pack, tracked by Double Treasure, who was having his first race for five months. They locked horns down the back straight, but Aidan Coleman sent Double Treasure into a clear lead over the third-last fence and he ran on well to hold off the consistent Innocent Girl, who had to settle for a place yet again.
Minehead trainer Philip Hobbs gained some consolation for the defeat of Wait For Me in the big race when 12-1 shot Quadriller, ridden by Micheal Nolan, took the Bet toteexacta Handicap Hurdle, beating pace-setting Ivor’s Queen and favourite Free Stone Hill, who ran well under the welter weight of 12-2.
There was another good prize on offer for the two-mile Class 3 Bet totetrifecta Handicap Chase and it looked a race to savour, featuring 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.
It was Theo who continued his winning ways, leading at the 10th fence and, despite being eased on the run-in, finishing 21 lengths in front of Mr Kit Cat, with Daulys Anthem, who was challenged for the lead early on by Lord Ben, finishing tailed off.
For winning jockey Charlie Hammond, it has been a week to remember at the course, landing a double on Tuesday and following up with an armchair ride on Theo.
Longest race of the afternoon was the Bet toteWIN Novices’ Handicap Chase over three and a quarter miles and it produced an all-Devon finish, as Bogoss Du Perret and Bryony Frost, riding for her father Jimmy Frost, wore down the Chris Down trained Culm Counsellor to win by the minimum margin of a nose.
On Alberts Head, who had gone off favourite on his last three runs, again headed the betting in the concluding Bet totePLACE Handicap Hurdle. He looked all over the winner until blundering at the last flight and handing the race to 16-1 shot Panis Angelicus, one of three runners for Welsh trainer Tim Vaughan.
The next fixture at Newton Abbot Racecourse is Monday 11th September. Tickets can be bought at the racecourse’s online ticket store until 17.00 on Sunday 10th September and can be bought at the gates on the day.
For more information, visit www.newtonabbotracing.com.