Newton Abbot Report Tuesday 30 May 2017
Minehead trainer Philip Hobbs was the man to follow at Newton Abbot on Tuesday evening, landing a double with Katy P and Horse Force One to make it five wins in the last week for his in-form stable.
The new jumps season is just four weeks old, but Dan Skelton has already opened up a good lead at the top of the trainers’ table, having sent out 25 winners coming into the meeting. He saddled Worcester scorer Whatzdjazz in the opening Independent Racecourses Limited (IRL) Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle and the race looked to be a match between her and the Hobbs-trained Katy P.
There was support during the day for Strangsmill, third in a competitive handicap at Aintree last time out, who was backed from 7-1 into 4-1, but it was Katy P, ridden by conditional jockey Ciaran Gethings, who took over from pacesetter Foxy Act at the final flight to score by two lengths, with Whatzdjazz only third.
With Day Of Roses a non-runner, the way looked clear for 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 Paul Nicholls stable, looking to have every chance before running on at one pace in the home straight.
But, to the despair of his backers who sent him off the 2-1 favourite, Braqueur D’Or found one too good here, as that man Gethings completed a quick double, getting Calin Du Brizais up to win by a neck and make it two winners for the season for Stoodleigh trainer Nigel Hawke.
The money talked in the feature £10,500 Sean Dooners Annual Pilgrimage Handicap Hurdle as, Doubly Clever, backed from 14-1 in the morning to half that price, scored his first victory since August 2015 for Trowbridge trainer Michael Blake.
Ridden by last season’s champion conditional jockey Harry Cobden, for whom this was a 98th career success, Doubly Clever beat locally-trained Cleni Wells by half a length, with Brotherly Company, Noel Fehily’s only ride of the evening, just a neck away in third.
The Sherwell Valley School Handicap Hurdle boasted the biggest field on the card and the early money had been for Seeanythingyoulike, who had finished seventh on his handicap debut at Warwick two weeks ago after a 16-month lay-off.
He could only finish third, however, as 11-1 shot Ladies Dancing, who was pulled up in a chase on his last start, ended a 12-race losing streak when coming home a convincing winner from Top Of The Rocks in the hands of Page Fuller for owner/trainer Chris Down.
Another well-backed winner was Dream Bolt in the Fred Champion Groundworks Handicap Chase, who defied top weight of 11-13 to beat Hughesie, who had a tendency to jump to his right, and Gold Mountain. Ridden by Sean Bowen, Dream Bolt, whose last win came on very different ground at Chepstow in January, led at the penultimate fence and was driven out for a two and a quarter length success.
There was not much form to go on in the Sports Information Services Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race, but Horse Force One had a point-to-point win to his credit and had returned to Hobbs for whom he made his debut at Exeter back in May 2015.
The winner of that race had gone on to land three hurdles, as had Lets Go Dutchess, who finished two places behind Horse Force One, so the form had a solid feel to it.
Sent off the evens favourite, he led two furlongs out to comfortably beat 50-1 outsider Neetside and give reigning champion jockey Richard Johnson his 21st winner of the season to put him just one behind table-topping Harry Skelton.
With just three opponents, Warwick winner Rebel Rebellion had a simple task on paper in the concluding Totnes And Bridgetown Steeplechase Company Open Hunters’ Chase and he duly followed up in the hands of Bryony Frost.
The next fixture at Newton Abbot Racecourse is on Monday 5 June. Tickets are on sale now priced at £19 for the Paddock Enclosure and £12 for the Course Enclosure. Racing starts at 14.10 and gates open at 12.10.