JONATHAN HOBBS Sunday: Towcester is again the focal point for open-race fans on Sunday as the Northamptonshire venue stages another all-open card, live on SportyStuff TV/RPGTV.
The 14 races include the semi-finals of the Stadium Bookmakers Northamptonshire Sprint, an event which was first staged 12 months ago when won the outstanding Bockos Jon Jo struck gold. However, if anything, this year’s competition has been even better.
Heading into today’s semis, four of the second-round winners line up again each other in a cracking first semi-final – so places in next week’s final will be keenly competed for.
Let’s have a look at both semis plus the pick of the other races.
2.32: Bentley Crew gets the vote in the sprint. Heather Dimmock’s dog has decent form on home soil and looks to have the trapping ability to clear rivals inside and out, although can ill-afford any mistakes with Russian Blake heading inwards from the get-go.
Play: Bentley Crew
2.52: Global Volcano shaped well behind the impressive Bubbly Tomahawk on debut last week and could go well here just second time up. Related to a host of top stayers, trials and Irish form suggest Patrick Janssens’ bitch takes some holding in the maiden event.
Play: Global Volcano
3.11: The first semi-final of the Northamptonshire Sprint and a real cracker with four of the second-round winners doing battle – so it oozes class. Preference is for the evergreen Shrewd Call who has been pretty much foot-perfect so far in the event, especially in the trapping department. Take David Mullins’ dog to come away well enough to use those early gears to best effect, perhaps taking advantage of Havana Class heading towards the inner early on? Ultimately it might see the outside traps dominate.
Play: Shrewd Call
3.28: The second semi-final looks good for Crossfield Dusty. Without absolutely being at his best round the Northamptonshire track yet, he’s in the semi-finals with a favourite’s chance against these rivals. Expect a big performance from Patrick Janssens’ dog if, as expected, he’s soon off and running. Headford Harry and Signet Mafia would be the ones to pounce should Crossfield Dusty miss a beat at the start.
Play: Crossfield Dusty
4.08: Sparta Master really should put this to bed given some of his form, although is no spring chicken now and might be worth taking on. Chelms Switch could come away better from the three-box and John Mullins’ dog has the form to suggest any lead can be held.
Play: Chelms Switch
4.28: A re-match between Master Ten Ten and Lautaro now. Many will fancy the form to be reversed, but the four-boxed runner might need to clear Gymstar Elusive which means Sharon Thompsons’s dog again has a chance to dominate matters which might be crucial.
Play: Master Ten Ten
5.28: Great to see the return of the St Leger champion Space Jet. A big marathon winner here in October, Matt Dartnall’s bitch is top drawer and has been given plenty of time to come back with smart trials. Further gains are likely to catch Ranchers Tigger potentially?
Play: Space Jet
Good luck all.