THE usual suspects are ganging up for tonight’s meeting at Towcester, the first of two fixtures at the Northants track this week.
Racing gets underway at 5.45pm tonight and at 5.55pm on Friday which is the course’s by now traditional ‘Ladies Night’ outing.
Course winners such as Red Jester, Turbo Shandy, Beauchamp Viking and Devils River are all poised to take their chance in the 2m ½f Betfair Don’t Settle For Less Handicap Chase which kicks off the action tonight.
This quartet of runners have an impressive total of eight wins between them, and there has to be a strong chance one of them will be adding to the list tonight.
But which one will it be?
The most popular scorer for the locals would probably be the Anna Brooks-trained Devils River.
‘Damian’ as he is known at home, now runs in the colours of Holdenby-based Linda Pestell and to describe him as a standing dish is something of an under-statement as he has run on this course 18 times since his first appearance here in October 2007.
The 10-year-old is invariably there to be shot at from the front.
His last appearance was a month ago when he burst blood vessels before pulling up here behind Todareistodo.
He rates a risky proposition but usually gives his supporters a good run for their money.
Also representing the local clique is the John Flint-trained Turbo Shandy who is owned by The Beefeaters Partnership, including Blisworth-based Lea Coulton.
The nine-year-old finished fourth behind Tempting Paradise at Uttoxeter on Saturday night and makes a quick return to the track.
His Towcester success came in a handicap hurdle last April. Any support in the ring would be significant.
Perhaps the likeliest scorer is three-time Towcester winner Red Jester or Beauchamp Viking, the latter having been successful here twice in April and May over the last two years.
Red Jester notched his Towcester wins as far back as 2008 and 2009 for west-country trainer Laura Young but has been off the track for over a year.
Towcester is clearly the place for Beauchamp Viking who has failed to register a win elsewhere despite a total of 33 career starts. He has also been second and third on three other Towcester visits.
He had a warm-up run on the flat last week under Hayley Turner and Simon Burrough’s eight-year-old gets a tentative nod under Colin Bolger.
Hodgson would be a topical sporting tip in the claiming hurdle but course form suggests Le Corvee for Tony Carroll and Lee Edwards, while Tony McCoy teams up with Little Fritz for Nicky Henderson in the maiden hurdle.
Watch out for the Jim Old-trained Witch’s Hat in the 3m handicap chase at 7.15 and can notch a double in the finale with Valid Point.
In between, recent course scorers Halucha and Nicks Power lock horns in the 2m 3½f handicap hurdle. Preference is for the latter, for Towcester specialist trainer Robin Dickin and jockey Charlie Poste.
Admission for both meetings this week is £10.