DUNKIRK spirit was in evidence in abundance at Towcester on Thursday as the Northants’ track defied the elements in an effort to bring festive cheer.
Boxing Day’s Towcester card is now looming large, although county-based owner Simon Hunt will have to tender his excuses on that day in favour of the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park, where his star turn The Giant Bolster will be attempting to strike it rich.
Yet Hunt and his Moulton Park-based construction firm Winvic Ltd held court at Towcester on Thursday when at least they could get familiar with the type of soft ground conditions the seven year-old gelding will meet at Sunbury, and which is also likely to prevail in Northants when the fixture has a scheduled 12.45pm start.
Winvic Ltd sponsored the 2m 3 1/2f chase on Thursday’s Towcester card, a race which was won by the Charlie Longsdon-trained Topaze Collonges. If ever a trainer was in form it is Longsdon now, as this was his 38th winner of the season and his fortunes remains on an upward curve.
Hunt arranged for two key members of his staff, Andy Mactavish and Charlotte Saliwonczyk, to make the post-race presentation to Topaze Collonges’ winning owners which gathered under the title of ‘No Boys Allowed’ after the grey’s two and three-quarter length success from Mujamead.
The special Winvic day was also set off by the victory of Shaking Hands in the 3m handicap chase as the winner Shaking Hands (11/2) was ridden by Tom Scudamore, who travelled to take the mount when the Exeter card was postponed.
Hunt said: “We have had a cracking day here with a box for our staff. Tom came into our box and was confident about his own ride while his other selections meant we had the Placepot up!”
The Towcester card opened with the 6/1 success of Goodtoknow for trainer Richard Lee and jockey Jake Greenall, while in the 2m 6f novices’ handicap chase, the combination of Venetia Williams/Aidan Coleman with Gorgehous Lliege (5/2 fav) only foiled a bold front running display by Gers Benefit after the final fence.
Another winning favourite was the Alan King-trained Two Rockers (10/11) in the 2m 5f novics’ hurdle while the biggest surprise of the day saw 16/1 shot Bravo Riquet land the 3m handicap hurdle.
Trainer Donald McCain won the bumper at Towcester on December 4 with Halo Moon and did so again this time with Tonvadosa, which also returned a 9/4 SP.