Keen contests will be on the cards

BACK on March 23, 2008 a horse called Synchronised landed his first-ever victory on a racecourse, in a 2m 3 1/2f contest.

Then a five-year-old, the son of Sadler’s Wells won the TPMCC Tiramisu Maiden Hurdle at odds of 9/2 with trainer Jonjo O’Neill in attendance, and Richie McLernon in the saddle.

The venue for this small moment in sporting history was Towcester.

Synchronised has now gone on to win nine races in public, the most famous and recent being last Friday’s thrilling Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup at the Festival.

The fourth anniversary meeting of the Towcester landmark takes place at the Northants track next Monday afternoon.

Once again, eagle-eyed race watchers will be looking to spot future stars in the mould of Synchronised.

So Towcester can truly label itself a breeding ground of champions with O’Neill a key figure in this pointing role.

How else do you explain the fact that O’Neill’s Albertas Run won his first novice chase at the Northamptonshire track, and last week was just half a length away from scoring at the Cheltenham Festival for the third consecutive year, going down by half a length to Riverside Theatre in the Ryanair Chase?

Of course, Tony McCoy was the jockey who grabbed all the headlines in jump racing’s blue riband event, and quite rightly so.

Yet gallant 50/1 runner-up The Giant Bolster is owned by Northampton man Simon Hunt who has been a regular visitor at his local track this season.

Helpful hints linking Cheltenham and Towcester do not end there.

Looking back at that 2008 March card, another of the winners was the Pat Haslam-trained Riguez Dancer who turned up at the Festival last week to run a game eighth of 19 in the JLT Speciality Chase behind winner Alfie Sherrin who was ridden by none other than McLernon.

Emerging young jockeys also learn their craft by climbing Towcester’s undulations.

Following course winners is often the key to Towcester success and another scorer on that 2008 card was the Oliver Sherwood-trained Pacco who was also won on both of his subsequent visits to Northamptonshire.

Free admission is an additional lure to the public when the action is scheduled to get underway at 2.30pm.