The striking Towcester success rate of trainer Martin Keighley and jockey Harry Stock continues at a pace after a fourth victory this season at the course’s extra meeting on Thursday.
Cotswolds handler Keighley and his conditional rider teamed up with 3/1 scorer Brillare Momento in the 2m 3f handicap hurdle, defeating the odds-on favourite Red Indian by a length and a quarter.
Conditional rider Stock is resurrecting his career after 20 months out of the sport after breaking his back in a riding accident while working for Donald McCain in January 2015. Now 21, Stock fractured vertebrae and needed to have eight screws and two rods inserted in his back.
Astonishingly, he won on his comeback ride on the McCain-trained Nafaath at Uttoxeter.
Returning home to Broadway, he has teamed up with Keighley and rode his ninth winner of the season and 18th of his career on Brillare Momento which could line up in the David Nicholson OLBY Mares’ Hurdle on the Tuesday of the Cheltenham Festival.
However, it has been the performances of dual Towcester winner Spice Girl which also heads for Cheltenham month which is capturing imagination.
“I have won on four races on her in total. Richard Johnson won on her the first time at Stratford and she is improving all the time,” enthused Stock who has also struck up a strong rapport with Buckle Street, the partnership scoring a memorable Catterick success on Stock’s 21st birthday on December 19, before finishing third at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day.
Towcester’s 11th hour fixture addition also witnessed a classic 2m 4f novices’ chase which saw only two of the six challengers complete, events bordering on farce.
Tower Of Allen, which eventually fell two fences from home, jumped markedly left throughout, a habit which caused Wood Pigeon to unseat Fergus Gregory at the sixth fence. Meanwhile, The Lion Dancer tried to refuse before careering through plastic railings and then off the course into a thicket of trees.
Last week’s winner Skipping On was another late casualty which left The Bay Birch and Kavanaghs Corner to fight out a finish, the former succeeding by 29 lengths.
Oliver Sherwood has a bright novice hurdle recruit with Piton Pete (9/4 jt fav) which took the opener from Pull Together while another favourite to oblige was the Dan Skelton-trained Tommy Rapper, Bridget Andrews doing the steering job in the 2m 5f novices’ hurdle.
Jeremy Scott’s Somerset yard was almost the day’s long distance traveller and connections went home happy after Gonnabegood took the 3m handicap hurdle, wearing down Fearsome Fred after the last.
Fergal O’Brien is another trainer who excels at Towcester and Grand Introduction took the 3m handicap chase with Paddy Brennan on board.