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Apr 15, 2016

Newton Abbot Preview Monday 18 April 2016

The third fixture of Newton Abbot Racecourse’s 2016 season is fast approaching, and with the weather forecast as dry and bright, promises a great day out, packed with action and excitement.

At the weights Garde La Victoire, from the Philip Hobbs stable, comes out top on the ratings in the feature Happy 96th Birthday, Les Bickham Novices’ Chase, but he has fallen in his last two races, albeit at the highest level at the Cheltenham and Aintree Festivals, and will need to jump better here.

Champion trainer Paul Nicholls has entered course winner Dormello Mo but, as he ran on Wednesday, it looks as if he will rely either on Le Mercurey, last seen out at the Cheltenham Festival in the RSA Chase, or Stilleto, a faller at the Festival but previously successful in heavy ground at Leicester

There are 27 entries for the opening SIS Maiden Hurdle at 1.50pm, won last year by the Nicholls-trained Abidjan. Champion trainer nine seasons in a row, Nicholls currently trails Willie Mullins in this year’s title race and will be hoping to close the gap with Amanto, last seen out over jumps when well beaten at Newbury in November, or El Bandit, third to the progressive Walking On Air at Warwick last month.

Nicholls’ former assistant Harry Fry has entered Instingtive, who would be making his hurdles debut here after weakening four furlongs out when down the field at Newbury earlier this month, and Meme’s Horse, who ran with promise on his debut for the yard at Kempton, weakening after chasing easy winner A Hare Breath until the penultimate flight.

Welsh trainer Evan Williams, who has saddled 24 winners at a 19% strike rate at the course over the last five years, has four entries and Philip Hobbs has two, including Lapalala, beaten favourite behind Western Sunrise at the course last month.

Next up is the Handicap Chase over the minimum trip of two miles and Sir Note, trained at Newmarket by James Eustace, is very much in form, having won at Huntingdon and Market Rasen this year. He races off a handicap mark of108, just 1lb higher than his latest success.

Guaracha, trained at Wellington by Alexandra Dunn, was kept busy last month with four races, winning at Taunton from a rating of 100, but will have more to do on Monday from a mark of 105.

Course winner Maizy Missile is now at the veteran stage, but Mary Evans’ 14-year-old is sure to go well again.

Having failed to complete the course in her last three chases, it looks like a return to the smalller obstacles is on the cards for Sureness, who tops the weights in the NewtonAbbotRace On Twitter Mares’ Handicap Hurdle.

Midtech Valenine, trained by Ian Williams who boasts a 21% strike rate at the course, is also entered at Stratford on Sunday, but would have a good chance here, as would Southwell winner Definitely Better, who only just failed to double up at Bangor, going down to Magic Money by a short head.

The trip is two miles and five furlongs for the St Austell Brewery Handicap Hurdle, for which there are 34 entries, including course winner Kayf Willow, who runs in the colours of the Newton Abbot Racing Syndicate.

Talk Of The South won well at Plumpton, but may have been set a stiff task when trying to concede weight to Ceann Sibheal at Warwick on his next run. He will get the trip and looks to have a good chance of getting back on the winning trail.

It’s back to two miles for the next, the Attheraces Mares’ Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race. Known as “Bumpers” these races are for horses starting out on the jumping careers, although are usually open to point-to-point winners.

Arctic Lady won her only Irish point race when taking a mares’ maiden at Necarne last May and Meribel Millie won well in a similar race at Doncaster in November.

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 and sponsors at Newton Abbot each year. Their Totnes And Bridgetown Novices’ Hunters’ Chase brings the card to a close at 4.55pm.

So join us this Monday 18 April to see all the action for yourself: first race at 13.50 and gates open at 11.50… to book your tickets now click here