Veteran Woodlands bids for another win at Towcester

HORSE RACING: Jumps racing is back again at Towcester this Sunday, with the first race of a bumper card starting at 1.30pm.

Emotional walks into the winner’s enclosure at Towcester are not a new phenomenon and a victory for Woodlands Genpower on Sunday in the Handicap Chase would have the eyes of regular visitors welling up once more.

Peter Pritchard’s 13-year-old grey, who is housed at his Gate House stables at Whatcote, near Shipston-on-Stour has claimed four of his five career victories at Towcester and all of them have been in January.

Woodlands Genpower has taken the 3m handicap chase on this card for the last two years and in 2009 he was scoring at Towcester for the second occasion in 12 days. His first victory in Northants was back on January 7, 2005 when he recorded a win in a 3m novices’ hurdle.

While recent form figures are less than enthralling (he was pulled up at the course behind Pacco in November) he has also been second once and third on two other occasions since notching his last success here.

Age is clearly going to catch up with Woodlands Genpower at some point, but Pritchard has found a way of getting him ready for trips to Towcester in the past. The veteran has often appeared to be under pressure and struggling at the foot of the hill before rallying to astonishing effect in the closing stages of staying chases when other animals are crying ‘had enough’.

It might be too much to expect for Woodlands Genpower to come close to the six course wins scored at Towcester by Tocky McKie’s Bit Of A Clown between 1991-93 but he is sure of a hero’s reception, win or lose.

Jockey Charlie Poste is based at Ben Case’s yard in Northants and has enjoyed a fine recent run of late, scoring Towcester wins at the last two meetings with Young Victoria and Badgers Cove for Richard Lee and Robin Dickin respectively.

Poste has currently ridden 15 winners this term at a healthy nine per cent strike rate and was seen to good effect on another grey, Russe Blanc, in the National Hunt Flat race for Lee at Warwick on Saturday.

His best hopes of a winner at Towcester could again lie with Price, who is poised to bring back the nine -year-old Abitofargybargy after a long lay-off in the opening 3m novices’ hurdle and Atherstone Hill for Dickin in the handicap chase where Culworth handler Paul Cowley has the consistent Billy Murphy lined up and ready to go.

Entry is free to the meeting on Sunday.

LEFT: Woodlands Genpower jockey Charlie Poste