A good bet ladies are in the spotlight

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KINGS Sutton-based trainer Richard Harper has only two horses in his yard but both are set to run at Towcester on Friday evening, when the local track stages its Ladies’ evening fixture.

Nine-year-old Chapel House has become the apple of Harper’s eye after an astonishing sequence of runs since last summer when he joined the Home Farm stables which Harper runs with his son Charlie.

Crucially, Chapel House has now won three of his last four starts, being second on the other occasion at Hereford.

Harper withdrew the horse from a 3m contest at Towcester on Tuesday and explained: “I have spoken to the lady in Yorkshire who trained him before us. If we are going to start running over three miles we don’t want to do that first time on a stiff track such as Towcester.”

He added: “The furthest Chapel House has been over so far is 2m 6f, with his winning over 2m 5f or less while Friday’s race is over 2m 3 1/2f. The other factor is that Friday’s race is for 0-110 rated horses and Chapel House won’t have to carry as much weight as he would have done in the Tuesday race, which was a 0-115.

“The horse is ever so well and the whole picture has been something of a fairytale for us, but we don’t want any extremes of going so I am planning to walk the course on Wednesday evening.”

Harper’s other horse is the former Kim Bailey-trained Top Benefit who is entered in the 3m handicap chase and who will be having just his second outing for the Northants yard.

That contest has also attracted Paul Webber’s popular grey veteran Appleaday. The 11-year-old could be asked to carry close to top weight if given the nod.

Friday’s meeting should be a real spectacle, with plenty of glamour and style in the fashion stakes. Best dressed prizes for ladies could win a £1,000 Gucci watch set, courtesy of Michael Jones Jewellers, or two spa breaks at Whittlebury Hall.

Admission for the fixture is £10, while Towcester’s final meeting before October will be on bank holiday Monday, June 4, the afternoon of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.