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Jun 21, 2017

Newton Abbot Race Review Friday 16 June 2017

Alcala made it back-to-back wins at Newton Abbot yesterday when landing the feature £22,500 Handicap Chase, the middle leg of a treble for trainer Paul Nicholls.

With Ballybolley scratched because of the quickening ground and top-weight Irish Cavalier pulling up at half-way, some of the interest in the race was taken away, but that shouldn’t detract from a thoroughly professional performance by Alcala, who was winning in open handicap company for the first time.

Successful in a two-horse race at the last meeting, Alcala’s chances were helped by the last fence blunder of favourite Brother Tedd, but he ran out a worthy winner to score by four and a half lengths, with Midnight Cowboy, who had led the field into the home straight, a further length back in third.

In the absence of Old Harry Rocks, Turn Turk, who had won a maiden hurdle on her jumping debut at Uttoxeter, was a warm favourite to take the opening Follow At The Races On Instagram Novices’ Hurdle over two and three-quarter miles. Her trainer Nicky Henderson came into the meeting in cracking form, with seven winners from his last 12 runners, and Turn Turk was well-fancied to add to his tally at the expense of the Nicholls-trained Trevisani.

A winner at Exeter in April, Trevisani had been well beaten when carrying a penalty at Fakenham last month but, sporting cheek pieces for the first time and with his weight reduced by the 7lb claim of Bryony Frost, he tracked the favourite until drawing alongside at the penultimate flight and, despite jumping to the left at the final obstacle, found an extra gear to go clear on the run-in.

Nicholls had declared Bagad Bihoue in the Lew Leaman Celebration Novices’ Chase, rather than take on the handicappers in the big race earlier on. He had won by a wide margin at Warwick last time, despite a couple of sloppy jumps on the way, and was odd-on to complete a hat-trick.

On his toes leaving the paddock, he unshipped Sam Twiston-Davies in the chute leading to the start but, in the race itself, he was a model of good behaviour, jumping well and beating his only serious rival Kayf Blanco by 30 lengths.

Despite four non-runners, there was still a good field of ten for the Racing Partnership Mares’ Handicap Hurdle, with Raising Hope heading the betting market at 11-4. The early pace was a steady one, with Hija, who had unseated Alice Mills at the first flight on her latest appearance, disputing the lead with Starlit Night as they went out on the second circuit.

But, Nick Scholfield was just biding his time on the favourite and coming to take the lead off Starlit Night between the last two flights, Raising Hope quickly asserted her superiority to win by four lengths and bring up Whitsbury trainer Paul Henderson’s fifth winner of the season.

Devon trainer Chris Down had chosen the Garry Ward Retirement Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (Nhmops Bonus Race) for Foxy Act in preference to the opening race and it turned out a wise decision.

A winner at Exeter, Foxy Act had followed up with a good second to Katy P over the course last month and, with champion lady amateur Page Fuller again in the saddle, she was sent off the red-hot 1-10 favourite and cantered home by 44 lengths to land her second win.

Hopes for a Down/Fuller double in the following Actuate Marketing Handicap Chase were dashed early on when 3-1 favourite Ladies Dancing came down at the very first fence. Up front, it was Triggywinkle who was setting the pace, chased by No No Cardinal, with the rest of the field struggling in behind.

The order remained the same until after the third last fence where No No Cardinal went on and put daylight between himself and the one-paced Triggywinkle, coming home six lengths clear.

There was not a lot of form to go on in the concluding Sounds Of The Summer 16 July Standard National Hunt Flat Race and, after The Land Agent had set a steady pace, the race turned into a sprint in the home straight with maiden point-to-pointer Bubbles Arcade coming out on top for Cullompton trainer Rod Millman.