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May 08, 2018

Over £98,000 in prize money on offer - Wednesday 9 May

The sunny bank holiday weather has dried out the ground for Newton Abbot’s second meeting of the 2018 season today, which offers over £98,000 in prize money across a competitive seven-race card.

The big news at the end of last week was the changing of the jockey order at the Ditcheat stables of ten-times champion trainer Paul Nicholls. Having decided to turn freelance, Sam Twiston-Davies will no longer be the number one, with Harry Cobden now in pole position.

Twiston-Davies was on board both Nicholls winners at Kempton Park on Monday and will again ride for the stable this afternoon, but it is Cobden who has the pick of the runners, including prolific winner Alcala in the feature race, the Class 2 Racing Partnership TRP Handicap Chase over two miles and five furlongs.

Alcala, successful four times over the course, was last seen out at the end of April when finishing down the field behind the classy Top Notch after a 182-day break and should come on for the run.

Last year’s winner Henryville is again in the line-up, but his form tailed off after that success and, as a consequence, he is 2lb better off at the weights with third-placed Ballybolley.

Sizing Platinum has been mixing it in better company of late, finishing second in a Listed chase at Ayr on his last run and, with champion jockey Richard Johnson taking the ride, could get his reward this time.

The Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle over two and three-quarter miles gets the card underway at 2.10pm and trainer Alan King has an interesting entry in the shape of Irish point-to-point winner Desirable Court, now owned by Simon Munir and Isaac Souede, who by-passed an alternative engagement at Ludlow yesterday.

Harry Fry’s Rosemary Russet, runner-up at Wincanton in February, has experience on her side and should be in the shake-up.

Nicholls runs two of his three entries in the following Newtonabbotrace On Twitter Beginners’ Chase over three and a quarter miles.

Theeaglehaslanded, successful over hurdles at Cheltenham and Warwick two years ago, is the higher rated of the two, but was pulled up on his last run. Interestingly, stable companion Overland Flyer, who will be ridden by Cobden, also failed to complete the course when last seen out at Exeter in February, so both have a question mark over them.

Although at the veteran stage to be making his debut over fences, Mighty Leader, unplaced behind useful hurdler Beer Goggles at the course last October, might be the one to be on.

Blu Cavalier notched up a hat-trick of hurdle wins for Nicholls as the end of last season and, despite top-weight, could win again in the Sky Sports Coming in 2019 Novices’ Hurdle. He has to give 4lbs to Higgs, a winner at the last meeting when beating another Nicholls runner in Sao and, on form, the race looks like a match between the two.

Ten line up for the Final Furlong Podcast On Handicap Hurdle in which Dan Skelton’s Shrubland looks handily weighted near the foot of the handicap. Formerly assistant to Nicholls, it has been onwards and upwards for Skelton since setting up in his own right on the family farm in Warwickshire and he posted 156 winners last season at a strike rate of 19%.

He kicked-off the new season which started at Uttoxeter on Saturday with a four-timer, all ridden by his brother Harry, who also started his career with Nicholls as a conditional jockey. Going into yesterday’s racing, Skelton’s score had gone up to seven and Shrubland could add another here.

Drumlee Sunset hasn’t been seen out since finishing runner-up to Cobra De Mai on good to soft ground at Warwick in February, but might be the answer to the Class 3 Get Hugh Taylor’s Tips On Handicap Chase, whilst Taunton winner Ice Tres could go in again for owner/trainer Chris Down and jockey Page Fuller in the closing Lingfield Derby Trial Saturday On At The Races Handicap Hurdle.

Tickets for the day are available at our online ticket store until 10am on the day of the fixture and are also available at the gates.