TOWCESTER PREVIEW: Get in tune for Monday night meeting

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So You Win Again could easily be a soft melancholy ode to a bookmaker but in memory of Errol Brown the former lead singer of Hot Chocolate who died this week, there is special significance in the song title to National Hunt Racing and Towcester Racecourse.

Towcester stages an evening meeting at the track on Monday when the action gets underway at 6pm and the action is sure to be compelling and relentless... in the words of another Hot Chocolate hit single... ‘No Doubt About It’.

British-Jamaican singer songwriter Brown enjoyed considerable success with master trainer Jenny Pitman in the 1980s with Do Be Brief which twice won at the Northamptonshire track in 1989 and 1993 and was never out of the first four in six runs at the course.

Brown’s relationship with Pitman began with his horse Gainsay which was resurrected to win the National Hunt Chase at the 1987 Cheltenham Festival, but Do Be Brief was lasting proof that Towcester can be a spring board for future stars in National Hunt Flat races.

The son of Le Moss was fittingly out of a dam by Gala Performance and made his racecourse debut at Towcester on December 21, 1989.

Ridden by trainer’s son Mark Pitman Do Be Brief spread-eagled his 17 opponents in the Christmas Pudding Novices’ Hurdle coming home unchallenged by seven lengths from Sailors Return to indeed prove a ‘Sexy Thing’.

It might have been stretching a point to say ‘Every 1’s A Winner’ from that point, but the consistent Do Be Brief also landed a 3m handicap chase on heavy ground at Towcester in December 1993 in Brown’s colours and ended his career notching ten victories in a 37 race career.

Towcester has always been a breeding ground for aspiring National Hunt stars with the increased popularity of bumpers an ideal example for young ‘babies’.

An initial glance at the five day entries for Monday’s National Hunt Flat race reveals a choice of 56 entries, apparently on a par with finding a needle in a haystack.

And yet it is true these races attract particular trainers who have specialised in farming them over the years.

While it has been a long time since Jenny Pitman has been saddling Towcester winners, the last ten years has brought a succession of victories for leading trainers such as Alan King (9), David or Martin Pipe (8) and Nicky Henderson (7) and they all have entries on Monday.

However, I find myself intrigued by a few of the lesser known smaller stables such as Brendan Powell (five wins) and Seamus Mullins (four) who also eye Monday night’s fare and runners trained by these yards are far more likely to go off at attractive odds.

So You Win Again was a number one for Brown and Hot Chocolate in 1977 and the fervent expectation for Monday evening punters is they can stay on top of the charts...