A Legal Legend entered the winner’s enclosure at Towcester on Wednesday and memories of another instantly erupted into the consciousness as county followers were rewarded in the hunters’ chase.
Highly respected one time High Court judge Sir Michael Connell and his wife Lady Anne Connell sent out their runners from Steane Park near Brackley but the death of Sir Michael in January 2013 was a devastating blow all round.
Yet although the racing arm of the Connell operation has dwindled somewhat with just three horses, Legal Legend (9/4 second favourite) kept the name alive with a gutsy victory in the 2m 3 1/2f contest.
And the fact the Midnight Legend gelding was ridden by Moulton lad Tom McClory, based at Caroline Bailey’s Holdenby North Lodge yard, made it extra special.
Legal Legend is trained by Chris Henn at the old quarters and it was his daughter Hannah, who rides the former Ian Williams-trained Craiglands for the team in points, who led the horse up.
The horse had Towcester form prior to Wednesday having finished third of 12 to Seebright in a National Hunt flat race at Towcester in April 2012, before a sixth of 13 in a similar event the next month, races Sir Michael Connell was able to watch.
Henn said: “We bought this horse as a yearling. Sir Michael wanted a Midnight Legend and I went to the sales where I saw three but I didn’t get any of them. Yet he was determined to buy one which is how we picked up this horse.”
Legal Legend made a mistake at the second last which allowed favourite Mr Mercurial to extend his advantage, but the eight year-old rallied to good effect and win going away by two and a quarter lengths.
West country trainer Kevin Bishop had to drive past one his local tracks at Wincanton in order to reach Towcester but the Spaxton handler is thriving in Northamptonshire at present and Just Spot (10/1) gave him a winner at the course for a third consecutive fixture in the mares’ novices’ handicap chase.
Just Spot was ridden by Ciaran Gethings who is based with Philip Hobbs.
Bishop had been successful with the grey Tara Tavey at the two previous Towcester meetings.
He trained his latest winner’s mare Just Jasmine to win seven times including a valuable chase at Cheltenham in 2002.
Yet but there was a scare at the start as Just Spot could have been withdrawn, having bled from the mouth as a result of a tongue strap.
Jockey Jamie Moore will be out for a lengthy spell after breaking a tibia and fibula when Kap West slipped on the walkway before the 2m handicap chase.