On a day when most of the flat racing is of a fairly pedestrian nature, Saturday’s Newton abbot Card provides this very competitive looking heat, so let’s hope that most if not all of the 13 four day declarations make it to the start.
Topweight, High Secret, only joined The Skelton Academy in June, (from Paul Nicholls) and hit the back of the net at the third attempt for his new yard when he impressively won a Class2 Market Rasen Handicap (2m4 1/2f Good) 6 week’s ago. Racing off a mark of 132 he made all, went clear before two out, and won hard held by 9L and the same, from North Hill, and Saturday’s opponent Voodoo Doll. He is 9lbs higher on Saturday and it’s a slight worry that his two previous victories over hurdles were also achieved on right handed tracks, but that performance at Market Rasen was most impressive, and a literal reading of the form with Voodoo Doll from their meeting at Worcester in June, (second run for Skelton) would suggest that High Secret had improved by at least 12lbs.
The Michael Blake trained Knight Of Noir is 4/18 over hurdles but has drawn a blank in all 6 starts since transferring from the Neil Mulholland yard last February. However there was some encouragement from his penultimate start when finishing 3rd, he was only beaten 1 1/2L in a Class2 Market Rasen Handicap racing off Saturday’s mark of 135. He can be excused his 4th on soft ground at Uttoxeter last time and it’s worth noting that the 9yo has won off a mark 5lbs higher than Saturday’s in the past.
The above mentioned Mulholland has an interesting contender himself with the Tony Bloom owned 6yo, Sleep Easy. Since winning a Class3 Handicap at Wincanton off a mark of 130 in March 2017 he has been disappointing, but following wind surgery and a 91 day break, his 4th/6 here at Newton Abbot (2m2f) 32 days ago, racing off a mark of 134 was a little more encouraging. He was in contention until the 2nd last and may have found the trip on the short side. He races on Saturday off 132, and with his connections, any market moves are worth noting.
Harry Fry won last year’s renewal with the 6yo, Golden Birthday, and at the time of writing has two entries, Litterate Ci and Serosevsky. The former is 3/10 over hurdles and the JP McManus owned 5yo was quite impressive when stepped up to 2 1/2m for the first time. He won over this trip at Ffos Las off a mark of 125 under 7lbs claimer, Miss A O’Connor at the end of May, and he again ran well last time, under the same rider, in that heat won by Voodoo Doll at Worcester in June. Meeting trouble in running and not getting a clear run on the flat he finished strongly to finish 4th, 2L behind Voodoo Doll who he meets on 5lbs better terms on Saturday. He also meets High Secret who finished just ahead of him in 3rd on 9lbs better.
Harry’s second contender, Serosevsky, has won 2 of his 4 starts over hurdles and had little more than an exercise gallop when winning a Novice’s over the course (2m2f) ten days ago, at odds of 1/4. He makes his handicap debut off a lenient looking mark of 125 and while he has yet to race over Saturday’s distance under rules, he is stoutly bred and had no difficulty winning a PTP over 3miles as a 4yo.
The Philip Hobbs trained mare, Katy P is a course and distance winner, and the 6yo had a nice pipe opener following a 78 day break at Southwell, 13 days ago. Racing off a mark of 128, she looked to have every chance until weakening between the last two obstacles. A winner of 3 of her ten starts over hurdles she races off a mark of 127 and it wouldn’t surprise to see her involved at the business end.
The Nicky Henderson trained 8yo, Ballinure is 3/12 over hurdles and looks pretty exposed. His highest winning mark over hurdles is 122 so looks to have it all to do under 3lbs higher on Saturday.
The 8yo mare, Kentford Heiress, has been a great servant to connections, winning 7 of her 13 starts, and she also boasts an excellent record here at Newton Abbot, nearly always running well, and winning two of her 8 starts at the track. Indeed her last appearance here in July, (3m2f) only beaten 1 3/4L when finishing 4th off a mark of 122 was one of her best performances. However she finished 7/7 at Stratford last time and connections will be hoping the Devon air sparks a revival.
Selection. : litterate Ci (if abs) High Secret
E.W. : Katy P