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Jun 05, 2024

Race Report: Wednesday 5 June

Clearance made it six wins over the course when landing the feature Class3 Don’t Miss The Newton Abbot Country Show Handicap Hurdle in which there were less than two lengths between the first five home.

Although raised just 4lbs for an authoritative win last month, Clearance was friendless in the betting market, drifting out from 4/1 to 7/1, but he came with his usual late run under Tom Cannon to find a gap on the inside rail and beat Hereford winner Swift Hawk with a bit in hand.

Puddlesinthepark, runner-up to Lightonthewing here last month, was a well-backed favourite to turn the tables in the opening Newton Abbot Racecourse On Facebook Handicap Chase over three and a quarter miles. Despite not winning over fences in seven starts, he shortened from 6/1 to 4/1, but the money stayed in the bookmakers’ satchels as he could never land a blow behind 8/1 shot Easy Bucks.

Shortcross Storm had set a good pace until four fences from home where Langley Hundred went on and he stayed in front until being collared close to the finish by Easy Bucks, who prevailed by a head, with Robinsville, another to be well supported from 14/1 to 13/2, not far away in third.

Trainer Paul Nicholls, out of luck with chasing debutant Pentire Head in the opener, saddled two in the following Racing Partnership Novices’ Hurdle over two miles and five furlongs with stable jockey Harry Cobden on Huelgoat, five times a winner over fences and not disgraced when runner-up to odds-on favourite Minella Rescue at Stratford-on-Avon.

He had tried to make all the running that day and, sent off the 1/4 favourite, went straight into the lead again, this time holding off all his rivals to win unchallenged, with Sweet Caryline the only one to get near him at the line.

Saint Bibiana broke her duck over jumps at Stratford at the sixth attempt and she followed up in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle over an extended three and a quarter miles, jumping past 25/1 outsider Shirocco’s Dream at the final flight to score comfortably and give trainer Georgina Nicholls a fifth career success.

Close behind were favourite Maroochi and Honey I’m Good, twice a course winner over fences last season but reverting to hurdles this time, who both had every chance if good enough.

American Gerry, runner-up to Time To Bite over the course last month, was favoured by punters to go one better in the Visit Novices’ Handicap Chase over two miles and five furlongs, but Up For Appeal, who had finished fourth in the same race, was better off at the weights this time. Backed to reverse the placings, shortening from 15/2 to 10/3, Up For Appeal jumped into the lead at the penultimate fence and stayed on strongly to see off American Gerry and record his first win over the bigger obstacles.

The closing Book Our Winning Post Restaurant Handicap Hurdle had been divided and the first division proved straightforward for 5/2 favourite King’s Castle, who quickly went clear between the last two flights to follow up his Warwick win, and in the second, Greatness Awaits, who ran on the flat at Chester three weeks ago, gained his first win over hurdles for trainer Ben Pauling and jockey Ben Jones.