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Monday, 10 December, 2018

Gold Cup winner Power at Newton Abbot with five live chances

Robbie Power: At Newton Abbot today for first of many trips to the UK this winter
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Gold Cup-winning rider Robbie Power makes his first trip to Newton Abbot to partner five live chances for Colin Tizzard.

Power, for whom Sizing John's Cheltenham success was one of many high-profile wins in a sensational spring, rides Mick Thonic and Sizing Platinum for his retainer Alan Potts and will stay overnight before schooling some of Tizzard's Potts-owned bigger guns on Tuesday morning.

He said: "Colin told me last week he could have some nice rides for me at Newton Abbot and that it would be a good opportunity for me to have a sit on horses like Finian's Oscar and Fox Norton again.

"I'm looking forward to it. It'll be my first time at Newton Abbot and hopefully the first of many trips over this winter."

Among Mick Thonic's rivals in an intriguing affair is Emerging Talent, who has been off for 533 days since his successful novice hurdle campaign but has been the regular mount of trainer Paul Nicholls since he returned to the saddle and should be fit enough.

Racing hinges on a 7am inspection but clerk of the course Jason Loosemore is confident it will go ahead provided the forecasters prove correct and said: "The only reason I've called a precautionary inspection is because we're already heavy, and so we haven't got far to go if we get more rain than they say we will.

"It's forecast to be dry overnight, and although there's a front pushing in it's not expected until after racing."

All-sprint card at Bath after infestation

Bath's season ends prematurely with a second all-sprint fixture, owing to the infestation of chafer bugs that has rendered part of the track unraceable for the time being.

With the track's final meeting on October 18 transferred to Lingfield, groundstaff have been able to make a good start on repairing the damage done to the turf on the home bend.

Clerk of the course Katie Stephens, who is happy enough in the restricted circumstances with the card that she and the BHA have put together, had good news of the progress made, but offered a word of warning to other courses whose racing surface is close to woodland.

Stephens said: "We've shaved off the top layer of grass for an area of just under a furlong on the bottom bend, and we now have to reseed it, but in a sense we're a few weeks ahead of ourselves, as we should have raced well into October. With the grass still growing frantically at the moment time's on our side."

She added: "We're trying a few different things, but in the absence of any pesticide it's trial and error. Nobody really knows what to do in the absence of the chemical we used to be allowed, and any racecourse which has any area near to a wood will be susceptible to an infestation, although they fly only about 50 metres to lay their eggs."

Stephens confirmed the going is expected to be soft but added the sprint track is "in good order" and her forecast is now for "a dryish breezy day".

Rockford bids to follow up for Beckett and Cox

The iesis Group Nursery (3.10) is the feature race on Bath's all-sprint card and is headed by Jim Rockford, who is up 4lb for winning a division of a similar race at the course last month but has Georgia Cox claiming 5lb – instead of 3lb claimer Hector Crouch – negating part of that rise.

Whereas Jim Rockford has only a small rise to overcome, Catterick winner Bahuta Acha is up 8lb as he bids to provide trainer David Loughnane with a first Bath winner following four frustrating seconds from seven runners.

Loughnane's veteran Seamster is responsible for all four of those second placings, and he bids to go one better under top weight in the Curtins 'Hands And Heels' Apprentice Handicap, in which his opponents include three course winners including Bath specialist Jaganory, already successful at the track three times this year.

Top Irish riders at Stratford

Racegoers at Stratford are encouraged to stay for the mares' bumper (5.00), for besides attracting three previous winners it offers an opportunity to see crack Irish riders Bryan Cooper and Jonathan Burke in action.

Cooper rides Chepstow second Rouergate for Venetia Williams, while Burke is on board newcomer Scented Lily, trained by his new boss Charlie Longsdon, for whom he has already had four winners.

Johnson versus Skelton

Champion jockey Richard Johnson has a typically busy afternoon in prospect at Stratford, where five rides include two for Philip Hobbs and rising star Olly Murphy, plus easy Southwell bumper winner Rococo Style for Steve Gollings.

In contrast, Harry Skelton, who has been chasing Johnson so hard in the title race, is booked only for Sam Red, a smart hurdler who has his second run over fences in the novice chase (4.00).

Colin told me last week he could have some nice rides and that it would be a good opportunity to sit on horses like Finian's Oscar and Fox Norton
E.W. Terms
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