TOWCESTER RACES PREVIEW: Kelly warms up for Gold Cup ride with a trip at Towcester

Lizzie Kelly will ride Brown Bear at Towcester on Thursday
Lizzie Kelly will ride Brown Bear at Towcester on Thursday
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Lizzie Kelly is booked to warm up for her Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup ride on Tea For Two on Friday by partnering course winner Brown Bear at Towcester 24 hours earlier.

The Northamptonshire track is now becoming accustomed to playing an attractive supporting cast to events at Prestbury Park with the giant screen enabling a healthy crowd to follow the finest National Hunt action while avoiding the worst of the log jams.

Kelly is no stranger to Towcester having ridden a double here on board Tea For Two and Horatio Hornblower on Boxing Day 2014.

She went on from that to become the first female to ride a Grade One National Hunt winner on the eight year-old Nick Williams-trained gelding and while there can be no doubting her highlight of the week, she will be keen to warm up with a winner on board Nick Gifford’s charge.

Brown Bear was ridden by Leighton Aspell when dotting up on the stands’ rails in a 2m 4f handicap chase at Towcester in mid December but now reverts to hurdles in a conditional jockeys’ event which gives Kelly the chance to shine on him.

With the nation’s focus predominantly on Cheltenham it can be fascinating and often prove worthwhile to see quite who exactly turns up at Towcester, apart from the odd sufferer of extreme claustrophobic symptoms.

Presumably Martin Keighley will be at Cheltenham where Solstice Star is entered in the Pertemps Final but the Cotswolds Condicote Stables handler clearly believes his horses are in decent nick right now with five entries in Northamptonshire.

The pick of those might be Ballymountain Moy in the Haygain Hay Steamers’ Clean Healthy Forage Handicap Hurdle at 2.35pm and Viking Mistress in the Towcester Greyhounds Every Saturday On Attheraces Handicap Hurdle at 4.35pm.

The afternoon’s racing concludes with the Towcester Open Hunters’ Chase which gives the amateurs a chance to shine and I will be keen to see how Toby Lerone from the Dan Skelton yard.

The 10-year-old is being ridden by Sam Davies-Thomas who has a popular local following while the gelding is owned by Long Buckby ladies Gill Duckworth and Pat Dry.

The 10-year-old is in good heart at present having won at Hereford and finished second at Leicester last month with this rider on board on both occasions.