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Jul 08, 2014

Second of Three Fixtures at Newton Abbot this Month

Newton Abbot stages its second meeting of the month on Monday with a seven-race card that gets underway at 2.10pm with the At The Races Virgin 534 Novices’ Hurdle.

The big race of the afternoon is the third, the Class 3 Paignton Zoo Handicap Chase over an extended two miles and five furlongs and the SIS Bringing Betting To Life Novices´ Handicap Hurdle brings the card to a close at 5.10pm.

Last Monday, champion jockey AP McCoy was the man in form, notching a double at the course aboard Luci Di Mezzanotte and Ebony Empress to take his career total to 4,188 winners, just two short of the milestone set by legendary West County trainer Martin Pipe for whom he rode so successfully as stable jockey.

The morning sunshine had given way to rain as the twelve runners faced the starter in the opening Visit Newton Abbot Racecourse On Facebook Maiden Hurdle, over two miles and three furlongs. The betting suggested that just three were in with a chance and they duly finished in market order with 5-4 favourite Bohemian Rhapsody denying Maxi Chop by half a length, with Spa Hill back in third.

There was a ding-dong battle in the Happy 65th Birthday Paddy Harman Beginners´ Chase with the mare Luci Di Mezzanotte just proving too strong for Netherby, scoring by a length. Disappointment of the race was Vesperal Dream, who was sent off the 11-8 favourite to make it a hat-trick of wins and, having jumped slowly at some of his fences, is now likely to revert to hurdles.

The booking of McCoy for Ebony Empress in the North Devon Hospice Mares´ Novices´ Hurdle looked significant and so it proved, as she was always holding Garnock up the home straight to reward her backers who had sent her off the hot 4-7 favourite.

Champion trainer Paul Nicholls took the feature event at the last meeting and ran two in the day’s big race, the £11,000 NewtonAbbotRace On Twitter Handicap Chase over three and a quarter miles.

But, he was out of luck this time, with Merrion Square being pulled up after a mistake and Oscargo tailed off behind shock 33-1 winner Prince Tom.

Ironically, Prince Tom had been a three-time winner for Nicholls at the course in 2012 before losing his way and transferring to the West Buckland stable of Alexandra Dunn, but he showed plenty of resolution here in the hands of Ian Popham to challenge Johnny’s Way at the last fence and forge clear on the run-in.

Monday’s racing at Newton Abbot Racecourse begins at 2:10pm, with the last race of the day taking place at 5:10pm. Tickets are available online at www.newtonabbotracing.com or by calling 01626 353 235. Tickets will also be available on the gate on the day.