JONATHAN HOBBS SATURDAY: Towcester begins how it means to go on. The Northamptonshire track has promised to stage major events in each month of 2022 and kicks-starts the year with an all-open race card on New Year’s Day.
From start to finish, quality abounds and racegoers and RPGTV viewers are in for a canine treat with appearances from a host of big-race winners from 2021 – including the Derby champion Thorn Falcon. Superb.
The Premarket Pets Blue Riband is just round the corner at Towcester and a number of the 500m contests are effectively trial stakes for that Category One competition, each worth £500 to the winner.
7.40: Seamus Cahill’s Pocket Lola gets the vote over Lights Out on first-run potential. Success for the orange-jacketed runner would reverse Brighton Belle form with the tenacious red-boxed bitch, but might the Hove runner get away this time?
Play: Pocket Lola
7.55: A decent winner-of-one contest now where a midfield pitch for Callmesteve catches the eye. The black-jacketed runner showed up well for John Mullins in the Puppy Derby, eventually finishing second. He starts and stays well and could edge Marlfield Glen.
8.10: Aussie Captain is tough to oppose after last week’s romp and could be a winner for Patrick Janssens. The blue-boxed runner takes on some in-form sorts such as Chelms Fred and Smurfs Machine, but might face an even tougher test from Freeky Pumbaa.
Play: Aussie Captain
8.25: Sprint action now and last year’s 2020 Sprinter of the Year Shrewd Call is back in top form and had a superb head-to-head with Crossfield Dusty at Notts. Patrick Janssens’ youngster scored a narrow win then and might again have the edge after a sparkling trial.
Play: Crossfield Dusty
8.40: Another cracking race now, back over 500m, where Forest Gold can build on a smart comeback trial. Best when dictating terms, that looks possible here and stronger types such as Sparta Master, Faughan Rebel and Balterio might always be playing catch-up.
Play: Forest Gold
8.55: Salacres Pippy, the Hunt Cup winner over C&D, won well on her return to the track last week and Peter Harnden’s bitch could follow up with her all-round speed. Key will be coping with the speed of Aayamza Dream inside. The latter ran well at Hove recently.
Play: Salacres Pippy
9.10: A special race this. Major race winners everywhere and including the Derby hero Thorn Falcon. He’s overlooked on this occasion, albeit only just, especially with an in-form Candy Man next door. Preference is for Kevin Hutton’s Signet Ace to make all again.
Play: Signet Ace
9.25: Another top sprint where Seamus Cahill’s Blastoff Mason catches the eye again. He returned with a hard-fought win last week but improvement after a break is more likely than not and, if clearing in-form Salacres Lee, might be away into the turn and onwards.
Play: Blastoff Mason
9.40: A cracking six-bend contest now to conclude proceedings and a smash break from Troy Suzieeq could put all under pressure, but the percentage call looks to be the classy Mark Wallis-trained Blueberry Bullet to strike if holding Burgess Elite into the turn.
Play: Blueberry Bullet
Good luck all and Happy New Year.