HORSE RACING: Kayla is the toast of the local track
Small is sometimes beautiful, and if Tyringham trainer Stuart Edmunds is to be believed, it can often be quite tasty as well.
Certainly his six-year-old bay mare Kayla fits the minimalistic part of the equation and on a miserable wet Tuesday when Towcester signed off National Hunt racing for another four months, few people needed prompting for thoughts of snacking to enter the equation.
Tough, gutsy and genuine as they come, Kayla had just battled her way up the Towcester hill to justify 2/1 favouritism in the 3m Haygain Hay Steamers Forage Handicap Hurdle, fending off Motts Cross by a length under Joshua Moore.
The victory meant Kayla was ‘two from two’ at her local track having landed a bumper on April 30 last year. It seems she also specialises in winning on the last day of the month although her Southwell novice hurdle success provided a slight hiccup, being on September 29 in 2015!
Size isn’t always important but At The Races presenter Matt Chapman was quick to pinpoint Kayla’s apparent lack of scope when thrusting the microphone under Edmunds’ nose in the winner’s enclosure after the race.
The Fences Farm handler thought for a moment before replying: “Not only is she small, but narrow as well... in fact it’s like riding two slices of toast. Come to think of it I could manage a couple of those at the moment!”
Edmunds is only entering his second full season with a licence after totting up 18 in the first, having taken over from the late Renee Robeson, and only has Kayla and Ereyna with which to tip away over jumps during the summer.
But Wolf Of Windlesham’s owner Michael Lawrence has bought a pair of juveniles to stable with Edmunds who explained: “I think he has bet a pal I can train a two-year-old winner so we will have to see what happens. I don’t expect them to be running for at least six weeks.”
Upbeat Cobbler warmed the hearts of Cobblers football fans at the racecourse when scoring at Towcester in March and Henry Daly’s eight-year-old grey had her first outing since when once again making all the running to land the 3m Yardley Gobion Handicap Chase, again under Jake Greenall.
Apart from one sketchy jump down the back straight it was another exemplary round of fencing from Upbeat Cobbler who exerted pressure on her five rivals before scoring by two and a quarter lengths from Reblis.
The winner meant Shropshire trainer Daly joined Alan King on four winners at Towcester during its 2015/16 season, one ahead of Charlie Longsdon and Kim Bailey.
There was drama in the opening 2m 3f maiden hurdle when front running Buachaill Beag crashed through the plastic rails at the fifth last flight of hurdles. It created a spectacular effect, after which the riderless horse kept pace with the remainder of the field, but this time on the inside of the track.
It proved a hair raising experience for conditional rider Philip Donovan but thankfully both horse and rider were fine after the race which was won by the David Arbuthnot-trained Followmybuttons (6/1) which ran in the colours of Andrew and Susan Wates made famous by 1996 Grand National winner Rough Quest which was trained by Terry Casey, who had strong Northamptonshire connections.
EDGCOTE trainer Alex Hales missed the boat with his two runners at Towcester as he was away at the Ascot Sales but at least he could happily reflect on the 20/1 success of Maybell in the 2m 4f novices’ handicap hurdle at Uttoxeter on Sunday and is promising to keep busy with runners during the summer months.
Maybell has not been the most straightforward to train and pulled up on both her previous starts in handicaps, on the second occasion after losing a shoe at Bangor, but benefited from a strong ride from Gavin Sheehan to come home a length clear of Mondello.
Hales is currently piecing together a syndicate for a four-year-old dual purpose horse by High Chaparral named Burner to run through the summer months. One twelfth shares cost £700 with training fees £155 a month and enquiries can be made to 07771 511652.
In the meantime Hales anticipates unleashing dual Irish point to point winning six-year-old Huntsman Son at Worcester on Saturday in the colours of Bill Booth whose Ballyvaughn is trained by Caroline Bailey and scored at Stratford in March.
On the same Worcester card, look out for the Bailey-trained Big Generator who won at this course last summer and who is understood to be in good form at home.