TOWCESTER RACES: Fairy tale start to Towcester season for Whitehead

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Memories of Restless Harry storming up the Towcester hill flooded vividly back to mind as Fairy Pol won the first contest of the track’s 2017/18 season.

The Henry Oliver-trained mare took the 2m mares’ maiden hurdle for Moreton Pinkney based owner Richard Whitehead and his wife Fay at odds of 14/1, winning

by two and three-quarter lengths from Thelunarschooner.

Whitehead’s quartered light and dark blue colours have featured in the winner’s enclosure at Towcester in the past with the top class Restless Harry in November. 2009, while regulars will also recall course specialist Jacarado which won five times over fences at this track between 2006-11.

Fairy Pol was ridden by James Davies in only her second race start, having been second in a National Hunt flat race at Bangor in May.

Whitehead, who has seven horses in total with Oliver in Worcestershire, said: “We didn’t expect this and would have been happy to finish in the first four.

The Whiteheads have already seen Generous Day placed this season and sent out their other new recruit Dr Des at Worcester on Thursday.

Cropredy Lawn trainer Paul Webber added to the local flavour on Towcester’s first day back in horse racing business since May when Copperfacejack (5/2 fav) ended a string of frustrating second placed efforts by taking the 3m handicap chase in the hands of champion jockey Richard Johnson.

Incredibly, the seven year-old had been a runner-up in seven of his nine previous starts and after making all the running, could have occupied that position again when headed by Charlie Poste on Dontminddboys on the approach to the second last.

But Johnson ensured there were relief and joy for owner Rob Barnett who has tasted Towcester success before with the Webber-trained Halucha in May 2013.

Webber’s horses are in good heart after a double at Huntingdon last week with New Agenda and Cosmic Diamond and discussing the front running tactics said: “It was entirely up to Richard. When you haven’t won with the horse yourself you can’t tell him what to do.”

Copperfacejack, the Nicky Henderson-trained Cool Macavity (7/4) and Plantagenet (5-2) were the three favourites to win on the six race card while Irish raider Chitu (5/4) took the five runner novices’ chase for Patrick Griffin and jockey Adam Short.

The concluding National Hunt flat race won by Racing Bonkers (7/2) was marred by the loss of Esther Du Clos.