Nolton Toughs It Out
WINNER 3 OF 2023: NOLTON CROSS, trained by Hugo Palmer and ridden by PJ McDonald: The feature 'Top Odds Every Day With BetUK Handicap' over 1m 4f at Southwell.
He was 2nd at Southwell twice last year, on both his starts at the track, albeit over 1m 2f and 1m 3f. Hopes were high that he could go one better, but the market had a couple of last time out winners at shorter prices..
He took a keen hold, but PJ managed to keep him in behind the leaders. Still travelling on the bridle, he took the lead 4f out. Heading down the home straight PJ asked him to give his all and he did, seeing off two challengers, as we feared he would be caught. But he held on well inside the final furlong, just doing enough, to win by a neck.
He has walked back into the winners enclosure after 9 of his 13 starts and this was a really gutsy win for the consistent son of Dark Angel.
Watch the full race replay here: https://www.attheraces.com/racecard/Southwell/17-January-2023/1830
The Racing Post made him their 'Star performer' on the card, saying: 'Nolton Cross (6.30) continued the good run of form of his yard.'
Timeform rated it as a career best t89 performance, saying: "...Having previously finished second 4 times in such races, proving willing in holding off a pair of last-time-out winners; never far away, not settle fully, went on around 4f out, tackled 2f out, dug deep under pressure; his stable's going well and he'll be interesting again next time, too.”
PJ said in his Sky Sports Racing interview, with Jason Weaver: "He has been a little unlucky in some of his races. We got a nice pitch here though and they didn't go that quick, but when we got to the front he put his head down right the way to the line and really battled to show a good attitude."
Syndicate manager Tom says: "Well done to his owners on their win, they deserved that. Hats off to Hugo too for his current super stats! Nolton Cross toughed it out up the home straight to see off the challengers and it was a great ride by PJ. Hugo and I will look for another race for him, where we hope he can give another good account of himself."