Mar 23, 2016
Newton Abbot season preview 2016
After completing a winter programme of course improvements, Newton Abbot opens its doors for a new jumps season on Easter Saturday 26th March, hosting the first of 18 fixtures stretching through the summer and finishing on October 20th.
In the five months since the last meeting of 2015, the course has spent £350,000 on improvements aimed at enhancing the visitor experience for racegoers, owners, trainers and jockeys alike from the track to the Parade Ring, the dining facilities and the betting hall.
Preparing to celebrate its 150th anniversary in August, the course is keen to ensure that the sport continues to attract families and young people and a brand new children’s play area has been built in the centre of the course, which will be open at every fixture throughout the season.
There will be two more weekend fixtures, as well as three evening meetings, featuring the St Austell Brewery Ladies’ Day on 21 June, that will appeal to local people and holidaymakers alike, and there should be the usual large and vocal crowds to enjoy competitive racing for record prize money of £1.1 million across the season.
A special 2-4-1 ticket offer will be available for all Friday fixtures, meaning that two Paddock Enclosure tickets will cost £18. Racegoers must purchase their tickets by 5.00pm one week before the listed race day.
“My team and I are really looking forward to welcoming visitors, both new and existing, to our Easter Saturday opener and to the start of our exciting 150th anniversary season of summer jumps racing,” said Managing Director Patrick Masterson.
“Annual course improvements, coupled with our action-packed racing calendar, mean we really have a season worth shouting about. We believe that by listening to our customers, taking their feedback on board and reinvesting in the site, we can give them an unbeatable experience.”
Paul Nicholls continues to be the leading trainer at the course with 39 winners over the last five years, at a strike rate of 31%. Last year, it was John Ferguson who was the punters’ friend, hitting the target with half of his 16 runners, but his stable will be closing next month as he concentrates on his role with the worldwide Godolphin operation.
Top jockey last year was Richard Johnson with 12 winners and his partnership with Somerset-based Philip Hobbs is one of the longest in racing. After finishing runner-up to Sir Anthony McCoy on no less than 16 occasions, Johnson will deservedly be crowned champion jockey in a few weeks’ time with a personal best total of winners.
Highlight of the opening day’s six race card is the Class 2 Frank Loosemore Memorial Handicap Chase over two miles, won last year by 16-1 outsider Another Flutter, ridden by amateur Stan Sheppard, who had his first winner for the Nicholls yard on Captain Buck’s at Taunton last month.
The meeting gets underway at 2.05pm with the SIS Mares´ Maiden Hurdle and gates open two hours before at 12:05pm.