Fontwell Park’s meeting, which features the valuable National Spirit Hurdle Race, is set to go ahead tomorrow,Sunday, and will be the track’s first meeting of 2014 following heavy rain which had led to waterlogging at previous meetings.
Six runners will contest this £50,000 feature race which has been moved up to the third race and will now be the first hurdle race of the afternoon, preceded by the opening Josh Gifford Novice Chase.
The Josh Gifford Memorial Chase at 2.10pm has prize money of £20,000, and a field of five runners. These will include Benvolio trained by Paul Nicholls, Via Sundown, trained at Horsham by Gary Moore with son Joshua in the saddle, and Lamb Or Cod sent out by Philip Hobbs and ridden by Richard Johnson.
The following handicap chase has six runners sent out by trainers including Charlie Longsdon, Venetia Willliams, Paul Henderson and local trainer Lydia Richards who runs her course specialist Venetian Lad, before the National Spirit Hurdle race goes off at 3.10pm.
This valluable feature race sees Bridge End trainer John Flint contesting with Kayf Moss, taking on the Paul Nicholls-trained Saphir Du Rheu. Kayf Moss won by an impressive 27 lengths in a handicap in January while Saphir Du Rheu won the Welsh Champion Hurdle, albeit in a slower time.
John Flint said he was disappointed that Fontwell Park had saved fresh ground and that the National Spirit was being run early in the card. ” I’d rather it got cut up and even more of a test,” he said.
Saphir Du Rheu is seen as a star of the future and may not go chasing until next year. If he wins this feature race it will be for the third time in four years after Celestial Halo and Prospect Wells’ victories.
Chris Pea Green is Sussex trainer Gary Moore’s entry while Kayf Moss, Meister Eckhart, Princely Hero, Unowhatimeanharry make up the remainder of the field.