A bout of winter seconditis is one thing but filling the runners-up berth is becoming an annoying affliction for Towcester-based owner Steve Brown, who remains optimistic the habit will soon change.
Brown’s Lactodorum Contracts business sponsors Alex Hales’ yard at Edgcote but he enjoys a spread of interests, including shares in two horses with Julia Feilden at Newmarket, where he also sponsors the jockey Adam Beschizza.
Feilden’s Go On Gal has been second five times since April while Limerick Lord occupied that position at Southwell last Thursday, on an afternoon when Brown was patronising his home county track. For Hales, Brown owns Allnecessaryforce which was second at Windsor in the summer while winning hurdler Crafty Roberto was second in a Fakenham chase three weeks ago. At the weekend, Scooter Boy ran with distinction to be third of 15 runners in a Uttoxeter hurdle.
Brown juggles varying degrees of shares in these horses while also retaining an interest in Isaac Bell, Barenice, Duel At Dawn, and Running Wolf with Hales, the latter a promising fourth over timber at Huntingdon last week.
Despite the lure of sunny summer weather racing, jump racing remains at the core of his equine passion and he laughed: “Someone suggested if I get another horse I call it ‘Howmanyhaveyougot’ as it is a question I am often asked!”
Crafty Roberto’s last run should have restored confidence to the horse after a breathing operation and although Allnecessaryforce is likely to be out until the back end of the season with a suspensory injury, optimism is high Scooter Boy will lose his wayward tendencies over fences.
Brown said: “When he was fourth at Towcester last season he nearly threw Kielan (Woods) off before the first hurdle. We hope that going chasing will make a man of him.”
Isaac Bell is yet to re-capture the form which saw him win twice at this time last year but newcomer Duel At Dawn ran a pleasing fifth of 18 on his debut in this country after being second in a point to point and third in a maiden hurdle in Ireland. As Brown’s son Mason rides out at Sam Lee’s point-to-point yard at Blisworth, it seems only a matter of time before a complete set of racing codes is complete.
Meanwhile, Towcester stages its second November meeting next Thursday when the action is due to get underway at 12.35pm. Last Thursday’s additional seven race card was run for a total pot of £57,000, with the penultimate chase on the card, won by Oliver Sherwood’s Milgen Bay, worth just under £6,000 to the winner alone.
The Oliver Sherwood-trained Milgen Bay and opening race winner Fled Or Pled are the latest horses to enter the pantheon of Towcester’s hall of fame and have the tag ‘specialist’ bestowed on them.
Remarkably, in a 45-race career, Milgen Bay has only raced in Northamptonshire on three occasions, stretching back over five years, but has won each time. Huntingdon could hardly be a more contrasting track, lacking Towcester’s stiffness, but Milgen Bay has also claimed three successes there.
Former jump jockey Billy Worthington, assistant to Fled Or Pled’s trainer David Dennis, admitted the four-year-old is a quirky individual but he wouldn’t be the first horse to find his true metier on the Northamptonshire track.
CHESTER Williams was a relieved young jockey after riding his first winner under Rules at the 20th attempt at Towcester on Peruvien Bleu, a horse trained by his father Nick. Offering his congratulations in the winner’s enclosure afterwards, clerk of the course Robert Bellamy remarked: “Just remember... Ryan Moore rode his first winner at Towcester!”
This is true! As a 16-year-old apprentice, Moore was on board his father’s Mersey Beat which obliged as 5/2 favourite in an amateur riders’ handicap hurdle, in May 2000.
THE Caroline Bailey-trained Carli King made a highly encouraging comeback after a long lay-off when contesting the Sussex National at Fontwell on Sunday, before tiring in the soft ground. That was 24 hours after the yard’s Crosspark was second to Pobbles Bay in a novices’ handicap chase at Uttoxeter.