Trainer to seek win nearer to home

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NORTH, south, east and west … if Northants trainer Alex Hales has left no stone unturned in restoring his yard’s horses to ruder health, travelling to the far-flung corners will never be an issue.

Hales has had a winner at Fakenham as well as runners at Carlisle and Ayr and an aborted trip to Exeter in the last 10 days.

But his quest for another success looks like coming closer to home at the weekend, when Towcester stages a Sunday six-race card, starting at 2.20pm.

Hales looks set to unleash Lord Kennedy in the opening 2m novices’ hurdle, Farewellatmidnight in the 3m handicap hurdle (3.50pm) and course winner Rif in the 2m 6f novices’ handicap chase.

The success of Lilac Belle in the 2m selling handicap hurdle at Fakenham last Friday, in the hands of Killian Moore, and Dakota Boy’s valiant two length second at the end of a 14 runner handicap hurdle at Southwell 48 hours earlier, suggest a rosier spring is on the horizon.

Lord Kennedy’s best effort was a debut bumper second in a sizeable field at Worcester, Farewellat midnight turned in an improved display last time, while Rif has undoubted ability, if electing to put his best foot forward.

Elsewhere on the Towcester card, course winners Pensnett Bay and Drom are poised to lock horns in the 2m 3 1/2f handicap chase.

The Jo Hughes-trained Pensnett Bay was a winner at Towcester on Boxing Day when he defeated Billy Murphy by two and a quarter lengths.

And after a down the field effort at Plumpton, the seven year-old returned to winning ways at Uttoxeter at the end of January when he beat the Hales-trained Royaume Bleu.

Meanwhile, Drom, successful at Towcester in January, will be bidding to repeat that effort and bring a welcome tonic to trainer Robin Dickin who has been laid up with a neck brace since suffering a riding accident at home last month.

West country raider Anthony Honeyball has his horses in good health and it might be worth supporting his runner in the concluding bumper at 4.55pm, with both Royal Announcement and Royal Native holding entries.