THE loss of so many recent National Hunt fixtures should ensure Towcester gets an abundance of runners if its scheduled meeting today (Thursday) gets the green light, with the action set to start at 12.40pm.
Playing the numbers game is key to any success, especially where National Hunt racing is concerned, and Edgcote trainer Alex Hales was responsible for no fewer than 11 of the 297 initial entries on the seven-race card.
While the lack of recent opportunities is clearly a factor behind this astonishing figure, it also shows the depth of Towcester’s popularity.
Hales’ horses were in rude health before the icy blast took its toll on a spate of fixtures and even the sixth place achieved by Rif in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham on Saturday was not without some promise – especially as this season’s Towcester winner showed some of his quirky tendencies by worrying himself out of the competition. The five year-old over-heated somewhat in the preliminaries.
Bobbisox and Saint Denis could both tackle the opening Free Bets @gg.com Novices’ Hurdle, with Bobbisox having plenty of previous form at Towcester while Saint Dennis is expected to come on considerably for his run for current connections at Chepstow in early November, after switching stables from Ireland.
Antonius Caesar was more like his old self when running third at Sandown on November 6 and he looks worth a shot in the gg.com Advent Handicap over 2m 6f.
Hales’s neighbour Ben Case saddled a winner on the last occasion Towcester staged racing 25 days ago and Handtheprizeover could be in line for a repeat in the Racing Forum @gg.com Handicap Chase at 3.10 although he set to face another county-trained course winner in the form of Devils River, sent out from Anna Brooks’ yard.
Case was thrilled with the performance of Thoresby who was third at 100/1 in a novices’ hurdle at Cheltenham last Friday and he could also run the promising Everdon Brook who would have finished much closer at Stratford on his one run this season, only for a mistake three flights from home.
Everdon Brook is a big powerful individual who will be much more suited to Towcester’s undulations than Stratford’s tight twists and turns.