Fontwell has passed an early morning inspection today and the Totepool National Spirit card at Fontwell will go ahead, despite an overnight frost.
Clerk of the course Ed Arkell said: “The track has taken the rain we got on Thursday and Friday very well. We had a light frost but the sun is up and it is coming out of the ground very quickly.
“I think it will be testing, but I think they will get through it as we have fresh ground on the bends, which we have saved since October, and we have moved the racing lines on the hurdle and chase courses, so there is a decent covering of grass all over. It will be tough, but it could have been worse.”
With the race going ahead, the feature race of the Totepool National Spirit Hurdle race, Grade 2, worth more than £28,000, has just six contenders, But Welsh Champion Hurdle winner Silsol will love the ground and is likely to give trainer Paul Nicholls a third victory in five runnings of the Grade 2 contest. Other runners are John Flint’s Kayf Moss, Fox Cub, Tom Symonds, Kilcooley ( Charlie Longsdon, Cannon Fodder ( Sheena West) and Kayflin ( Linda Jewell).
Unfortunately the card has only four runners left in the opening Josh Gifford Memorial Novices Chase- Leo Luna ( Gary Moore), Tan Royale ( Richard Rowe), Wilton Milan ( Paul Nicholls) and Miss Oscarose ( Paul Henderson).
The late Josh Gifford rode his first winner as a jockey for Capt Ryan Price at Fontwell Park in March 1961 on Do Not Disturb, two and a half years after his initial ride at the track. He was a regular visitor and supporter of Fontwell Park with numerous winners and also opened Fontwell’s new Grandstand in 2010.
This trophy was originally known as the Mad Hatters Trophy, presented for an amateur riders Flat race, won by Althea Gifford riding for Josh in 1979.
The two mile six furlong chase for the Certain Justice Trophy has five entries- Regal Flow ( Caroline Keevil), Time To Think ( Seamus Mullins), De Kerry Man ( David Bridgwater), Herecomesthetruth ( Chris Gordon) and Morestead ( Brendan Powell).
The novice hurdle race over two miles six furlong has two entries of the five entries from in-form trainer Chris Gordon, with Tom Cannon riding top weight Kerry Maur, and Marc Goldstein bottom weight Lady H.
The Foxhunter trial has just three entries while the last two races, a handicap hurdle and National Hunt Flat race look the most competitive of the day with seven runners in each.
Meanwhile a date for the diary is Wednesday March 4 when a Spring Afternoon fixture is being held at Fontwell Park with the first race at 2.10pm. Also racing is scheduled in Sussex tomorrow (Monday) at Plumpton where the going is currently heavy and soft in places, a precautionary inspection will be held at 8am because of uncertainty about amounts of overnight rain.