JONATHAN HOBBS Sunday: Towcester has enjoyed another busy weekend with a Saturday afternoon meeting followed by its usual open-race Sunday – which this week sees the quarter-finals of the Stadium Bookmakers Northamptonshire Sprint, live on SportyStuff TV/RPGTV.
It’s a 14-race all-open card, with owners of the runners involved every Sunday invited to a buffet lunch providing they register and pre-book by 10am each Sunday. It’s a tremendous move from the Northamptonshire venue.
And those VIP boxes might well be busy this Sunday with a whole host of connections involved, so let’s look at the pick of the bets.
1.57: The first quarter-final of the Northamptonshire Sprint could see John Mullins-trained runners dominate. He handles the bookends here and, taking the short route, rails-drawn Knocknaseed Gem gets the vote over wide-running kennelmate Russian Blake.
Play: Knocknaseed Gem
2.12: Early Knight looks well pitched in stripes in the second quarter-final. The Mark Wallis-trained runner looked all over the winner last week before being edged out by his kennelmate Antigua Bigun. A solo outside can do the trick for the six-boxed runner.
Play: Early Knight
2.32: Shrewd Call was pretty much foot-perfect in the heats last week and could follow up in this third quarter-final. David Mullins’ prolific-winning sprinter posted the fastest time last week and same again does the trick here to edge out Headford Harry.
Play: Shrewd Call
2.52: The fourth quarter-final is class-laden with four of those towards the top of the ante-post betting doing battle. Preference is for Liz McNair’s Havana Class on the draw against the brilliant Crossfield Dusty, fellow heat winner Signet Mafia and Salacres Lee.
Play: Havana Class
3.11: Diane Henry unleashes a potentially decent stayer in Savana Spartacus. He boasts eye-catching Irish wins and has trialled well at Towcester, although keep an eye out on another debutant in Soul Gamble (Paul Marchant). Key for the latter is clearing Savana Charm.
Play: Savana Spartacus
3.28: A cracking contest this. Master Ten Ten won well at Monmore and is a powerful youngster, still improving. Knighganny Lad won well at Yarmouth. However, Patrick Janssens’ Lautaro trialled back well and can enhance his tall reputation further.
3.48: Bubbly Tomahawk will be expected to go one better than his last visit. Paul Young’s dog has scope for better after just four races and moved well – and fast – in a 480m trial at Monmore. He therefore should be well in charge before halfway.
Play: Bubbly Tomahawk
4.08: Salacres Pippy trialled so well before her Golden Jacket heat that victory there had been touted before a trouble-marred run in the heats. Back on home soil – and where she won the Hunt Cup – expect Peter Harnden’s bitch to soon be in charge against the rail.
Play: Salacres Pippy
Good luck all.