Mares Catch The Eye At Towcester

Thu 31st Jan 2013, 11:07

Sam Thomas rides Vinnieslittle Lamb
©Healy Racing Photos
There has been plenty of chat lately about the buying and selling of mares and about the merits or otherwise of confining too many races to the fairer sex. Well she didn't cost anything like the £155,000 that yesterday's Ludlow bumper winner, Centasia achieved lately, but Vinnieslittle Lamb did have Irish point-to-point followers waxing lyrical this winter and she begins under Rules today in Towcester's 1.50.

Sam Thomas will take the ride on the Vinnie Roe mare, for Venetia Williams, and she cost current connections £49,000 after winning at Boulta in November – form that's worked out well. She was ridden by Derek O'Connor then, for Wexford handler, Sean Finn.

Favourite for today's extended two mile three furlong event, Vinnieslittle Lamb faces a worthy adversary in another Irish point-to-point graduate, Vintage Vixon. She won 'between the flags' for Gary Aherne and you can put a line through her bumper debut as that developed into a sprint in the latter stages.

Another with a chance here is Niki Royal who has her first start for Jamie Snowden. She scored at Kirkistown in November 2010 for Barry Potts and last month, after competing without success on the track, she returned to point-to-points to finish runner-up at Tattersalls Farm. (EM)

GRAND NATIONAL - The Northern Challenge

The Sue Smith-trained Auroras Encore was the last northern-trained horse to win the Grand National back in 2013 but recent victories for that part of the country have been thin on the ground since the likes of Lucius, Rubstic and Hallo Dandy in the late 70s early 80’s showed that steeplechasing was in a healthy state north of the Watford Gap with the likes of Gordon W Richards, Denys Smith, Arthur Stephenson, Peter Easterby and Jimmy Fitzgerald capable of holding their own against their southern and Irish counterparts.

THE IRISH TIMES