EAST Sussex trainer Diana Grissell scored her seventh win of the current National Hunt season when eight-year-old bay mare Rolling Dough won the opening handicap hurdle at Fontwell Park’s evening meeting last night ( Friday).
This was her first hurdle winner of the season and she also has one National Hunt Flat Race to her credit, while the remaining five victories were all over fences earlier in the season. Ridden by in-form Joshua Moore, her horse won by more than a length from Charlie Longsdon’s 8-1 shot Midnight Gem.
There was a well-contested finish in the two mile one furlong chase, won by favourite Quadrill, giving trainer Philip Hobbs and champion jockey Richard Johnson a three quarters of a length victory of 14-1 shot Sports Report trained by Seamus Mullins and ridden by Andrew Thornton.
The handicap hurdle later in the card went to 2-1 favourite Banyu, with this talented and progressive five-year-old providing trainer Philip Hobbs and jockey Richard Johnson with a double for the evening. Banyu gave Nicky Henderson’s Maestro Royale a ten length beating.
French-bred Vailant Creek got off the mark at 8-1 scoring his first victory after eight places in his career. Trained by Alex Hayes, the seven-year-old had raced in France during his younger days. He ran well at Fontwell, ridden by Kielan Woods, and came home half a length clear of runner-up, 11-4 shot Ebadani, trained by Jamie Snowden.
Mercers Court, sent out by trainer Neil King, has graduated to fences since his win in a novice hurdle last September at Fontwell Park. He seemed to act well on the good ground, with regular jockey Trevor Whelan in the saddle. Favourite for the race, he scored his fourth National Hunt victory by just a neck after a hard fought battle with Dai Burchell’s Butlergrove King, ridden by the talented Freddie Mitchell.
The final handicap chase was a win for Horsham trainer Gary Moore, with Ilewin For Hannah, ridden by son Jamie, taking the lead close to home in a well judged ride from Caroline Keevil’s Darkestbeforedawn.
The next meeting at Fontwell Park is a Spring Evening meeting on Thursday May 12.