Fontwell Park stages one of its most valuable races of the year – the Totepool National Spirit Hurdle with a total prize fund of £50,000 this Sunday February, 24. This race is aimed at progressive horses and has, in the past, attracted World Hurdle prospects such as Barracouda and My Way De Solzen en route to the Cheltenham Festival.
This year’s 13 entries include some quality campaigners, three from Champion Trainer Paul Nicholls yard – Brampour who has been third twice to current World Hurdle favourite Oscar Whisky, Dark Lover a winner already at Cheltenham in December, more recently a good fourth to My Tent Or Yours at Newbury.
He also has Prospect Wells who’s been running in high class company, his best run this season was probably when beaten just ¼ length by Zarkandar at Wincanton back in November.
Donald McCain aims to saddle Any Given Day – originally a proven flat horse now very well suited to hurdling with five wins and six seconds from 20 runs over obstacles, most recently runner up at Kelso on February 14. Alan King is represented by Smad Place the smart French Bred 5 year old aimed at the Ladbrokes World Hurdle, his form is looking promising, second in the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot and third to Tidal Bay in the John Smith’s Hurdle at Wetherby back in November.
Also featuring on the card, in partnership with the Tote, is a race in memory of a very special and local trainer, the Totepool.com (Class 2) Novice Chase for the Josh Gifford Cup. Unsurprisingly, this race has been well supported by trainers, many of whom have very fond memories of the highly successful and charismatic Sussex trainer.
Nick Gifford, son of Josh who took over training at their Findon base said, “It is particularly thoughtful of Fontwell to put on this race for Dad, it is also quite poignant that they are using a trophy that Mum won in the 1970’s in a race for amateurs known as ‘The Mad Hatters which we have photographs of her holding.”
The Gifford family will be attending Fontwell Park on Sunday to present the winning connections of the memorial race with the Josh Gifford Cup, including daughter, Olympic Gold Medallist, Tina who will be getting involved with the entertainment and demonstrations surrounding the “All About The Horse” Raceday.
Richard Rowe, local trainer and ex-stable jockey to Josh Gifford, commented, “It is great that Fontwell have put on this race in memory of Josh, Fontwell was one of his favourite tracks and where we had a lot of success.”
Rowe added, “It’s good prize money and will attract some nice types, I remember riding Captain Dawn for the Governor in a similar race at Fontwell, and he went on to win at Cheltenham”.
Racegoers on the day will be treated to a whole host of entertainment surrounding the seven races which begin at 2.10 pm. Gates open from midday with plenty to see and do prior to the racing. The Racehorse Sanctuary are bringing along some very friendly ex-racehorses for the public to meet and get up close to with experts on hand to answer questions. There will also be pony rides for the children, farrier demonstrations, a jockey’s mastermind plus more fun and family attractions.