FONTWELL Park racegoers, who braved bitter conditions last week saw trainer Venetia Williams complete a double to put her within reach of beating her best tally of 89 winners in a season.
Both horses were odds-on favourites, which she said had put her under pressure at the meeting.But, pictured above right with Jupiter Rex and connections, she had no need for her fears, with Sustainability 1-5 favourite scoring his second win over fences with Aidan Coleman in the saddle.
Her second runner, Jupiter Rex, already with five wins under his belt this season, had been shrewdly placed by his trainer to win the ‘Hands and Heels’ Handicap Hurdle, sponsored by the Platinum Lace Gentlemen’s Club. Brighton.
There he carried less weight than he would have done in an ordinary hurdle race and conditional jockey Micheal Nolan impressed with an assured ride- his first ride for the trainer.
The double took the Herefordshire trainer up to 83wins and there could be several victories more to come from Jupiter Rex with provisional plans to run him in another hurdle, then a chase before the end of the season.
After his win she joked: ” I travelled down here with his owners and if he had not won, I might have had to get the bus for the long journey home!”
Trainer Lawney Hill made the journey to Fontwell from her Oxford base with seven-year-old mare Cool Cascade, to take on Sustainability in the Novice Steeplechase.
Cool Cascade, well ridden by David Bass, was making her debut over the larger obstacles and the seven-year-old Alderbook mare finished a good second at 20-1, delighting her connections.
Lawney Hill always does well with her runners at Fontwell Park and rates it as her ‘lucky course’. Cool Cascade had joined her in February, with little form, other than one small win, to her credit.
She said: ” Cool Cascade had been running in large competitive fields in hurdle races and didn’t enjoy it. I decided to switch her to fences and she loved it today, running extremely well.
“We are delighted with her second in this race, and being an Alderbook mare she should have more to offer at this level. The main thing is that she clearly enjoyed it today and jumped well throughout.”
At Fontwell earlier in March the trainer had sent out Billy Twyford to win a handicap hurdle, beating fancied runners from top yards.
Racegoers have come to expect the unexpected from Princely Hero trained by Chris Gordon at Winchester. The nine-year-old Royal Applause gelding tends to drop himself out of most races and yet scrape into a place, or the rare win from an impossible position.
At Fontwell he was remote from the remainder of the field until he decided to run under Tom Cannon, making up unbelievable ground to finish second to favourite Bounds and Leaps, trained by Michael Scudamore, son of Peter Scudamore and brother of Tom Scudamore, who was in the saddle.
Mrs Marilyn Scudamore, breeder of the horse, quipped: “Not only did I breed Bounds and Leaps, but I also bred the trainer and jockey!”.
Horsham trainer Gary Moore has an interesting prospect in French-bred Via Sundown, which finished second to Charlie Longsdon’s well-fancied Loudmouth in the novice hurdle race.
Ridden by Jamie Moore, Via Sundown was making his debut in this country, having won on the Flat in France and being placed in a hurdle and two chases there. He looked a quality horse for the future.
All photos by Jeannie Knight