TOWCESTER RACES: Cumbrian Cowley makes an impression at Towcester

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Strong accents can be misleading to the unwary and uninitiated so it is easy to make a fatal flaw when speaking to conditional rider Patrick Cowley for the first time.

The assumption is that all raw recruits to the jumping game on the mainland originate from across the Irish Sea yet further investigation reveals this not to be the case with the 19 year-old who is now carving out a name for himself at Jonjo O’Neill’s Jackdaws Castle base in the Cotswolds.

After scoring his fifth winner on board Vaihau (7/2) in the famous JP McManus colours in the opening 3m handicap hurdle at Towcester on Monday, Cowley is revealed to hark from the South Lakeland market town of Ulverston in Cumbria, a county where O’Neill once trained himself in Penrith.

The pattern of emerging from sleepy backwaters onto a national stage could yet be repeated... certainly there was much to like about the way Cowley steered the six year-old German bred gelding to a cosy success victory in going altered to good to soft after significant rain.

Cowley sprung to prominence on board Join The Clan in a Channel 4 televised 3m 2f handicap hurdle at Warwick in January, subsequently following up on the same horse at Wetherby.

He said: “I have been at the yard for three years now and owe both Mr O’Neill and Mr McManus a debt of thanks for putting me up and giving me a chance. I am reallly loving my time there.”

He added: “This winner means I have lost my 10lbs claim. The horse was tackling a new trip and I was riding him to get home but he took me into the race himself and did it well.”

Former Northamptonshire trainer Kim Bailey was away at the Doncaster Sales but successful owner John Perriss saw his colours carried to Towcester success for the second time in a week when By The Boardwalk (6/4 fav) landed the 2m 3 1/2f handicap chase by 23 lengths from Riddlestown.

Perriss has been an owner with Bailey for 23 years in which time the handler has been based at three different yards while his equine stock has gradually risen to a point he had nine horses in training last season.

Only now has the hobby he pursues with wife Penny reached a pinnacle through a breeding programme largely based until now by offspring of Smokey Diva, the best of which has proved to be Molly’s A Diva, which won a Listed bumper at Sandown in 2013.

Perriss said: “We have some nice horses to look forward to including Emily Gray who was second four times last season and ran in the mares’ race at the Cheltenham Festival. She will now go novice chasing.”

The day’s Towcester card, the last until October, also brought welcome winners for Tony Carroll, Donald McCain, Emma Lavelle and Fergal O’Brien.