Towcester is always guaranteed to put punters in a festive mood but an entry from a Norwegian trainer promises to spruce up the occasion still further tomorrow (Thursday) when the seven-race card is due to get underway at 12.10pm.
Monfalcone is an 11-year-old gelding by Big Shuffle trained by Rune Haugen who has just moved from his previous base near Oslo to Eve Lodge Stables at Newmarket, designed and owned by Lester Piggott and formerly inhabited by James Toller and Ed Walker.
Haugen has come over with 11 horses and will be hoping to land running with a veteran of 63 contests which had a run on the flat at Ovreroll in Norway last month although the last of his 11 victories was at Gothenburg in Sweden last year when ridden by Shane Quinlan.
Monfalcone holds an entry in the 2m 4f totepool Chip & Pin Betting Handicap Chase although Carobello looks nicely weighted at the foot of the handicap and showed a degree of promise to be third of nine runners at Taunton last time, beaten six and three quarter lengths by Somerset Lias.
Nicky Henderson looks like entering the spirit of the occasion by possibly running Christmas In April in the opening 1m 7 1/2f maiden hurdle but the highlight of the day will doubtless be the fourth running of the totepool Caroline Beesley Memorial Handicap Hurdle, always a gruelling test of stamina over 3m.
Last year’s shock 16/1 winner Earcomesthedream ran encouragingly here for a long way in November and with his genuine front running style looks sure to be in the shake up again with jockey Tom Bellamy, the son of Towcester clerk of the course Robert, set to take over from his brother Archie.
There will also be a loud cheer if Adstone trainer Tracey Leeson can conjure up a victory from Blackwell Synergy which has regular partner Conor Ring in the saddle.
There could also be a strong Towcester connection to the winner of the 3m handicap chase if Sunny Ledgend can be produced in tip top form by his trainer Andrew Martin, who also happens to be the racecourse farrier and is based at Swerford near Chipping Norton.
Sunny Ledgend came up trumps with a second course win in January with a 12/1 success before following up at Market Rasen a fortnight later with trainer’s son James in the saddle on both occasions. Indeed, he has ridden him on his last 27 outings!