Girl power reigned supreme as Towcester bade a fond Boxing Day farewell to horse-racing.
Greyhounds replaces the Sport Of Kings as festive fare at the track in 12 months time, so it was ironic jockeys Bridget Andrews and Lizzie Kelly should partner two winners apiece on the six race card to prove themselves as queens in the saddle.
Rachael Green, the only other girl jockey in action, finished runner-up to Andrews in the concluding bumper.
Andrews, who rode the longest priced Towcester winner in 2014 (Doyenne Dream on April 10), was successful on board Bouggietopieces (7/1) in the 2m 5f handicap hurdle and then Madame Trigger (3/1) in the concluding National Hunt Flat race.
Meanwhile, Kelly, who has made her name nationally this winter through her partnership with Aubusson owned by her mother, scored on winning favourites Tea For Two (4/6) and Horatio Hornblower (11/10) both trained by Nick Williams.
It seems that Andrews spent most of the afternoon looking over her shoulder as it was an action she performed on both her scorers as they employed prominent tactics, the first of them trained by Pam Sly and the second by Dan Skelton.
However, the competitive nature of siblings was set to become an issue. After Bouggietopieces had made a sprightly wining debut in handicap company, coming home four and a half lengths clear of Eaton Rock, Andrews’ father Simon said: “Bridget’s sister Gina got off this one to ride one at Market Rasen which finished only fourth so she may not be best pleased.”
Fenland trainer Sly has had her horses in rude health of late with recent victories for Iconic Rose at Catterick where the mare is due to return on New Year’s Day, while Arkaim has also been a Trojan, winning twice and being second in his last three starts.
The Williams double was initiated by Tea For Two in the 2m novices’ hurdle, the five year-old coming home four lengths clear of 66/1 shot Ozzy Thomas while Horatio Hornblower won a battle royal with Mister Newby in the 2m 6f beginners’ chase.
An afternoon card which began with a 15 minute delay due to only one horse ambulance being present, was staged in front of a huge crowd, cars stretching all the way down the course bordering the A5, and the opener saw the Rosemary Gasson-trained Jolly Boys Outing record a third course success at the expense of odds-on favourite Newton Thistle.
Mrs Gasson said: “I let the horse out for half an hour this morning and it took half an hour to catch him so we knew he was fresh and well.”
Moreton Pinkney-based owner Richard Whitehead chose to go to Market Rasen where Withoutdefavourite and Take The Crown were performing, but his winner on the day came at Towcester courtesy of Crescent Beach (2/1 fav) in the 2m 3 1/2f handicap chase.