Oct 03, 2018
Newton Abbot Racecourse Review Monday 1 October 2018
Ontopoftheworld made all the running to land the feature Thanks For The Memories Martin Hill Handicap Chase at Newton Abbot yesterday to make it three wins from four runs since joining Pembrokeshire trainer Peter Bowen.
Although just four runners lined up, it still looked a close race to call between the two hat-trick seeking runners Ontopoftheworld and I’dliketheoption. A winner at Stratford and Perth, Ontopoftheworld carried a 7lb penalty, but still looked handily-weighted from a mark of 117 and, ridden by the trainer’s son James, was backed into even money favourite to win again.
He was getting 15lb in weight from I’dliketheoption, who was looking to put up a career-best performance to win from a rating of 132, and made the most of the advantage to score by three lengths.
Let’s Sway, the only winner in the race, went off the 6-4 favourite for Warwickshire trainer Olly Murphy in the opening St Austell Brewery Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle over two miles. Ridden by champion jockey Richard Johnson, Let’s Sway had won at Wincanton back in May when trained by Tracey Barfoot-Saunt and was making her first appearance for her new yard after wind surgery.
Close on her heels in the betting market was Green Or Black, who 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. She finally broke her duck, joining Let’s Sway at the final hurdle and showing good acceleration on the run-in to score by a length.
Just two had been declared for the following Racing Partnership TRP Novices’ Chase over two miles and five furlongs and punters had a choice between the experienced On Demand, runner-up to Roll The Dough over course and distance last month, and chasing debutant Risk And Roll, who had a higher rating over hurdles and was receiving 4lb in weight.
Trained by Paul Nicholls, who has had a quiet time at the course this year, Risk And Roll was the one that the punters went for, but it was On Demand who came out on top, making all the running to give Johnson his 85th winner of the season and take him level with Harry Skelton at the top of the championship table.
Seven lined up for the Bryan And Ilva Westcott Memorial Novices’ Hurdle over two and three-quarter miles, with the Murphy/Johnson combination looking to strike with Motueka, who runs in the familiar colours of Mrs Diana Whateley.
Runner-up to Play The Ace at Southwell last time, Motueka rallied to re-take the lead from dual chase winner Super Scorpion between the final two flights and, despite a mistake at the last, ran on well to score and put Johnson on top of the table for the first time.
For Murphy, in just his second season training, this was his seventh winner at the course at a strike rate of 47%.
A competitive-looking field of 15 faced the starter in the Steve Evans Memorial Handicap Hurdle over two and three-quarter miles, with morning money for The Brothers, backed from 11-1 into 7-1, and Marble Moon, the choice from three entries for Welsh trainer Evan Williams, from 5-1 into 3-1.
Backers of The Brothers knew their fate when he weakened quickly after the third-last flight, but the in-form Marble Moon overcame another hike in the weights for his latest win at Ffos Las to go past the Johnson-ridden Bradford Bridge approaching the final jump and land his hat-trick in the hands of Adam Wedge.
Although pulling up in the race, Bryony Frost had a safe return to riding after injury on Atlantic Grey for her father Jimmy and she was on the fancied top-weight Third Estate, backed from 8-1 to 3-1 before racing, in the closing Sky Sports Racing Launching In 2019 Conditional Jockeys’ Selling Handicap Hurdle.
Shortening even further on the course, the gamble almost came off, but Scorpion Star proved just the stronger in a tight finish to give Littlehempston-based Martin Hill a winner as he brings the curtain down on his training career, with Lord Fendale, who continues to knock on the door, back in third.
Celebrate the end of another great season with our Season Finale on Friday 12 October. Gates open at 11.40 and racing starts at 13.40. Buy your tickets at our online ticket store or at the gates on the day.