The return to racing at Towcester took one step closer with the visit of GBGB Chief Steward Paul Illingworth on Thursday evening.

Both sets of traps are now installed and connected. But for a last minute hitch, replacing newly cushioned outside fencing at the first bend, trials would have taken place today. As it stands, the first dogs are due to be tested over the new circuit on Friday morning.

Illingworth’s report is expected to be considered by the stewards on Friday. If they are satisfied, they may license the re-opening of the Northamptonshire circuit at the same meeting.

This is what owners and trainers can expect, seen for the first time fully sanded and under lights . .