Sep 10, 2018
Newton Abbot Racecourse Preview Monday 10 September 2018
Dorset trainer Harry Fry, who landed the feature race at Newton Abbot’s last meeting, looks to top-weight Whataknight to keep up his impressive seasonal strike rate in today’s £21,500 newtonabbotracing.com Handicap Hurdle.
Fry doesn’t run as many horses as some of his rivals, but has hit the target with 23% of his runners this campaign. In his seventh season with a license following a spell as assistant to multiple champion Paul Nicholls, Fry was on the mark with Golden Birthday at Stratford on Saturday and can maintain his good run of form here.
Whataknight has twice run up against the useful Monbeg Theatre, finishing down the field when hampered by the fall of Debece in the Pertemps Network Long Distance Handicap Hurdle at Haydock Park in May. Previously, he was runner-up to Monbeg Theatre in a big field for a Class 2 contest at Cheltenham and this trip of three and a quarter miles should be right up his street.
Jockey Noel Fehily has had just three rides since returning from a four-month absence through injury, scoring on Winner Massagot at Fontwell Park yesterday, and can get on the scoresheet again with Whataknight.
Four of the runners won their last start, including Lord Topper successful in his previous two outings over the course with Page Fuller, but facing a rise in class as well as weight today. Colin Tizzard’s Kings Lad is another who is on a hat-trick, but is returning after a lay-off and wind surgery.
Perfect Man won on his first start for trainer Olly Murphy at Market Rasen, but is 10lb higher in the handicap as a result and looks to have a tougher task this time. Formerly assistant to leading Irish trainer Gordon Elliott, Warwickshire-based Murphy is now in his second season of training and has chalked up 26 winners so far to add to the 47 in his first campaign.
Down at the bottom of the handicap is Night Generation, having his second start for Saltash trainer Jackie du Plessis and looking to build on a promising run behind David John at the course in June. His only success over hurdles came from a handicap mark of 105 at Huntingdon last November, so he has no easy task from a rating of 112 today, but he stayed on well, just failing to catch the winner and could run into a place at big odds again.
Leapaway, a winner of his last four races, is favoured by the conditions of the opening PKF Francis Clark “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle over two and a quarter miles and will be a very short price to score again for Minehead trainer Philip Hobbs.
Tom O’Brien replaces Richard Johnson in the saddle as the champion jockey journeys to Perth to ride Imperial Presence for Hobbs, as well as six horses for Gordon Elliott. Johnson has gradually reduced the advantage established by Harry Skelton at the top of this season’s championship table from 26 when racing returned from a short summer break at Newton Abbot on 15 August to just eleven after the weekend’s meetings.
Hobbs could be on the mark again in the following Book Thomas Cook At Peter Goord Travel Handicap Chase over an extended two and a half miles as Roll The Dough seeks to defy a 6lb rise in the weights for his defeat of On Demand at the last meeting. That was Roll The Dough’s first win in nearly three years and whether he can reproduce the form of that run has to be a matter of trust.
Sharing top-weight is River Of Intrigue who has had just three runs since joining the Fergal O’Brien stable from Nicky Henderson a year ago, but shaped with promise when third to Isle Road at Stratford in June and could give Roll The Dough a run for his money.
Murphy’s Mizen Master makes a quick reappearance after dropping out of contention at Stratford two days ago in the Newton Abbot Racecourse On Facebook Selling Hurdle, but will need to up his game to feature in the finish and Cool Macavity, who was rated at 137 when trained by Nicky Henderson, is taken to win his first race for Alexandra Dunn.
Orchestrated has plenty of weight to carry in the PKF Francis Clark Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase, but will be ridden by the promising Richard Patrick and Akkapenko, runner-up to Ladies Dancing at Stratford, is taken to win the concluding Racing Partnership Novices’ Handicap Hurdle.
Tickets can be bought at the gates.