Oct 01, 2018
Newton Abbot Racecourse Preview Monday 1 October 2018
Although only four runners have been declared for this afternoon’s feature Thanks For The Memories Martin Hill Handicap Chase at Newton Abbot, it still looks a close race to call, with hat-trick seeking I’dliketheoption just preferred to another in-form horse Ontopoftheworld.
A winner at Stratford and Perth, Ontopoftheworld carries a 7lb penalty, but still looks handily-weighted from a mark of 117, having won two of his three starts since joining Peter Bowen’s stable. He gets 15lb in weight from I’dliketheoption, who will need to put up a career-best performance to win from a rating of 132 but, with regular rider Aidan Coleman again in the saddle, could follow up his course win last month for leading owner JP McManus.
Warwickshire trainer Olly Murphy runs Let’s Sway, the only winner in the race, from his two entries in the opening St Austell Brewery Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle over two miles.
Ridden by champion jockey Richard Johnson, who has closed the gap on the current season’s title race leader Harry Skelton to just one, Let’s Sway won at Wincanton back in May when trained by Tracey Barfoot-Saunt and, although beaten in three races since, makes her first appearance for her new yard after wind surgery.
Green Or Black is a model of consistency, having finished in the frame in eight of her nine jump starts, including when runner-up in a handicap here in June from a rating of 108. Fortia, on the other hand, has had just two starts, being beaten only a neck by Sheila Tanist on her latest run at Worcester, and should be open to more improvement.
But, Let’s Sway is taken to benefit from her move to the Murphy stable, which is operating at a 21% strike rate this season, and enable Johnson to draw level at the top of the table.
Just two have been declared for the following Racing Partnership TRP Novices’ Chase over two miles and five furlongs, with Johnson riding On Demand, runner-up to Roll The Dough over course and distance last month, for trainer Colin Tizzard.
However, at the weights, he could struggle against the higher-rated Risk And Roll, a second ride back after injury for Harry Cobden, who had 76 winners last season. Trained by Paul Nicholls, who has had a quiet time at the course this year, Risk And Roll will be making his chasing debut today but, although lacking his opponent’s experience, should come out on top.
Seven line up for the Bryan And Ilva Westcott Memorial Novices’ Hurdle over two and three-quarter miles, with the Murphy/Johnson combination looking to strike again with Motueka, who runs in the familiar colours of Mrs Diana Whateley.
Runner-up to Play The Ace at Southwell last time, Motueka pulled hard through the race and wasn’t always fluent in his jumping, but looks the one that the others have to beat, with dual chase winner Super Scorpion, withdrawn at the last meeting because of the softened ground, the likely danger.
A competitive-looking field of 15 face the starter in the Steve Evans Memorial Handicap Hurdle over two and three-quarter miles, including Treasure The Ridge who local trainer Martin Hill has declared in this race rather than the finale.
Treasure The Ridge hasn’t won since beating Iniesta over the course 14 months ago, but runs from a 6lb lower mark today and, if he is to get his nose in front again, this has to be his chance.
Bryony Frost is having her first ride after injury on Atlantic Grey for her father Jimmy, but preference is for the in-form Marble Moon, the choice from three entries for Welsh trainer Evan Williams, who has to overcome another hike in the weights for his latest win at Ffos Las, but might just have a bit more improvement to come.
The largest field of the afternoon is in the closing Sky Sports Racing Launching In 2019 Conditional Jockeys’ Selling Handicap Hurdle, with Frost on the top-weight Third Estate. Lord Fendale has been knocking on the door and could get his reward with Connor Brace taking the ride for the first time.