Steve Hughes has two selections for the new working week with races from Newton Abbot over jumps and Pontefract on the flat chosen.
A typically quiet start to the new week with mainly moderate racing to mull over. However a chaser who could be well above the average type for the time of year looks worth following to make it four in a row at Newton Abbot, whilst a sprinter at Pontefract can make up for an unlucky defeat last time out.
Newton Abbot 4.45: Neverownup
Dr Richard Newland has been up to his old tricks with Neverownup already this summer, persuading an apparently very average horse without a win in 20 runs under rules and in points to suddenly win three races in succession in the space of a week. Whilst he must now run off a seriously raised handicap mark, the manner of those victories suggests there could be plenty more in the locker just yet.
In fairness the 9yo had already made the frame in six races before joining Newland, including a fair second to Maller Tree in a selling hurdle at Fakenham on Easter Monday, where he was claimed by his new trainer. Given a month under his care, he came out transformed to win a handicap hurdle at Worcester with something to spare, having been backed into favouritism.
Since then he has turned his hand to chasing and the most notable feature about those races was his spectacular fencing which was gaining him lengths at some of the obstacles. After pummelling the opposition by 21l at Fontwell, he won by another 12l at Huntingdon last time despite jumping out to his left on occasions. This track should be more to his liking going the other way around and he looks more than capable of defying a 17lb rise and top weight here.
Pontefract 9.10: Adams Ale
Still relatively unexposed for a 5yo, Adams Ale is slowly making a successful transition from racing over 6 and 7f, to 5f sprints and this stiff track should play to his strengths ideally as he bids to make up for an unfortunate defeat at Ripon last time.
He had only raced twice before last season and made an immediate impression when third in maiden company on softish ground at Newcastle over 6f. He built on that nicely during the summer, soon winning on quicker ground at Redcar, and then significantly at this track in July, both over 6f. However he showed what he can do over 5f next time when defeated by the smallest possible margin at Ripon – his first try at the minimum trip.
He has been ultra consistent this season, placing third on his last three starts – all at Ripon. However it was his last run, when dropped back to 5f again that showed his time was near to winning again as he was nearly brought to a standstill over a furlong out before running on well into third without being given too hard a time. Given his proven stamina over 6f, this stiff 5f will suit and he has enough form on ground softer than good to suggest he will cope with potentially testing conditions this evening.
2pts win – Neverownup – 4.45 Newton Abbot (7/4 Coral)
1pt win – Adams Ale – 9.10 Pontefract (11/4 Bet365)