Tieing up loose ends to reach a profitable result is all part of the challenge for Towcester Racecourse punters.
So it is fitting that popular fiction’s most masterly sleuth should have helped along them along that path at Thursday’s meeting, to solve the puzzle.
Admittedly, close-up work with a magnifying glass reveals that the Sydney Paget who illustrated the works of Sherlock Holmes in The Strand magazine had his name spelt with an ‘i’.
Strong evidence suggests the naming of Donald McCain’s high class recruit to the chasing ranks had more to do with the 19th Century English aristocrat (Sydney with an extra y) who indulged his passion for racehorses in the USA.
Followers of the turf will scarcely be concerned at such trivia as long as they stay in tune with McCain’s six year-old who gave Jason Maguire an armchair ride to land the 3m beginners’ chase by 11 lengths.
And as far as they were concerned, the case was effectively solved when David Pipe’s exciting bumper recruit Red Sherlock skated home by more than double that distance, neatly book-ending the day’s events.
Elementary, as a certain resident of Baker Street once said.
Perhaps not surprisingly, given all the clues which lay scattered on the heavy ground, both horses were sent off at stingy prices on a day when five of the seven favourites obliged.
Sydney Paget (4/5), Thunderstorm (8/13) and If In Doubt (4/5) represented the odds-on brigade while Gorgehous Lliege (3/1) and Red Sherlock (7/4) at least sat on the other half of the betting equation fence.
Pipe sent just the one runner to Northamptonshire and the fashion in which Red Sherlock scattered the opposition in the final furlong was quite awesome.
Both Thunderstorm and If In Doubt carried the colours of JP McManus and were ridden by Tony McCoy but closer inspection revealed they were trained by Philip Hobbs and not Jonjo O’Neill who saddled four in the novices’ hurdle, two of which ran into third and fourth places.
Thunderstorm’s win came in the 2m handicap hurdle.
Gorgehous Lliege followed up a course victory over 2m 6f in December (he was subsequently second here over 2m 3 1/2f) by winning over the extra distance of 3m.
The victory of the Venetia Williams chaser was timely for jockey Liam Treadwell who had picked up a 12 day ban for missing out the wrong fence at Leicester a day earlier.
Non winning favourites on the card were Niki Royal (7/1), scoring for trainer Jamie Snowden, jockey Tom O’Brien and the Mirror Punters Club, and Mujamead (9/1), the latter in the 2m handicap chase.
The latter success was notable as Mujamead led home his stable mate, the 14 year-old Kinkeel, who was backed down to 3/1.