Newton Abbot Report Sunday 23 July
This Sunday saw great weather and a fantastic turnout for Newton Abbot Racecourse’s annual Family Fun Raceday! The Family Enclosure was a hive of activity with our younger race fans enjoying the amazing illusions of magician Ozzy, superhero and animal facepainting from the Facepainting Company as well as the adventure play equipment in the permanent play area.
On the course trainer Paul Nicholls lifted Newton Abbot’s feature race for the fourth meeting running when multiple-winner Bagad Bihoue took the Packexe Protecting What Matters Novices’ Chase in front of a big crowd. Bagad Bihoue, running here in preference to a race at Stratford the same afternoon, had been well placed by Nicholls to win three chases, having faced only seven opponents in all, but he jumped well when making all the running to slam Kayf Blanco over the course last month. His main rival looked to be Vosne Romanee, never out of first gear when beating Stealing Mix at Stratford, but it turned out to be a straightforward task for the 4-9 favourite, who again made all the running with Sam Twiston-Davies and never looked in any sort of danger.
It proved to be a good weekend all round for Nicholls, as he had landed one of the most valuable prizes of the summer jumps campaign when Alcala, a winner at Newton Abbot on both his previous runs, took the £50,000 Betfred Summer Plate Handicap Chase (Listed Race) at Market Rasen the day before.
Whilst Nicholls has been champion trainer ten times in a career stretching back 26 years, Warwickshire-based Olly Murphy is at the very start of his, having sent out his first runner only a few weeks ago. Murphy came into the meeting with a record of three winners from just seven runners over jumps and, having entered three in the opening Racing Partnership TRP Novices’ Handicap Hurdle, he relied on Knight Commander, formerly trained by his mother Anabel, and ridden by Richard Johnson.
Making his handicap debut, Knight Commander looked to have most to fear from Arty Campbell, who pulled up on his last appearance at the course, but whose overall form entitled him go close this time. Backed from 3-1 in the morning to share favouritism at 6-4, Arty Campbell had every chance, but couldn’t live with Knight Commander over the last two hurdles as he gave Murphy, who was formerly assistant to leading Irish trainer Gordon Elliott, another winner.
Dual course winner Horse Force One made his jumping debut in the John Bircham Memorial Maiden Hurdle and was well fancied in the betting to see off his six opponents and complete a hat-trick. He looked to have a serious rival in Southwell bumper scorer Whoshotwho, third on his debut over hurdles at Uttoxeter behind Lovato and available at 9-4 in the market. So it proved, as Whoshotwho put that experience to good use, powering home by 23 lengths for Nico de Boinvillle, with Silver Quay getting up on the line to deprive the disappointing favourite of second place.
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 a week ago and set the standard in the Packexe Over The Edge Juvenile Hurdle. Amadeus Rox hadn’t set the world alight in seven runs so far, was backed in the morning to make a winning hurdles debut for trainer Alan King. But it was Neil Mulholland’s Charlie Rascal, another coming off the Flat, who prevailed, despite making mistakes, including at the last two flights. Although his winning margin over Amadeus Rox was only three-quarters of a length, he was always in command under Noel Fehily on the run to the line.
Calin Du Brizais was looking for a third win at the course in the SIS Handicap Chase, but he disappointed, finishing only fourth to Strumble Head, who made all the running with James Bowen, overcoming a tendency to jump to the right to beat Martin Hill’s Beuvron. Beuvron was well-beaten by Patricktom Boru when they filled the places behind Fort Gabriel at the last meeting, but turned the tables this time and could win soon given a little respite by the handicapper.
Twiston-Davies chalked up a double for the afternoon when scoring on the in-form Theo, who made it three wins on the bounce for the stable of Dr Richard Newland in the Newtonabbotracing.com Handicap Hurdle, before 5-4 favourite Sutter’s Mill beat Kentford Heiress by the shortest winning margin possible of a nose in the day’s longest race, the SIS Trading Services Handicap Hurdle over three and a quarter miles.
The next fixture is on Monday 31 July: the first race is at 13.45 and gates open at 11.45. Why not enjoy our 2-4-1 ticket offer for all of our Monday fixtures – two Paddock Enclosure tickets for the price of one – just £19. To take advantage of this great value, money-saving offer you must purchase your tickets by 5pm one week before the listed raceday – Monday 24 July. This offer is only available in advance and will not be available on the day. To buy tickets click here. You can also call the racecourse on 01626 353235 or drop in to the racecourse office to purchase your tickets. We hope to see you soon…