The £80,000 National Spirit Hurdle meeting at Fontwell Park attracted a huge turnout on Sunday and crowds were rewarded with competitive racing.
The feature race proved to be a great success story for trainer Colin Tizzard, for he sent out Vision Des Flos to in the NetBet Casino National Spirit Race in good style. The six-year-old had been knocking on the door of victory with placings in four of his six races this season. One of these had been as runner-up to Champion Hurdle winner Buveur D’Air at Sandown.
VisionDes Flos has run well throughout the race and went on in earnest from the second last, going on to beat the favourite for the race, The Cap Fits, by a length and a half.
Trainer Colin Tizzard is in fine form at present and revealed he had run Vision Des Flos three times in February because his wind was not very good and he felt the fitter the horse was, the better he would be. He has now entered Vision Des Flos for the Champion Hurdle and the Coral Cup
“He stayed on well here. He travelled really well. He is in the Champion Hurdle and the Coral Cup, and on that running I’d say he would go for the handicap. You never know, if there are not many in the Champion Hurdle we may go there yet.”
As for the runner-up, trainer Harry Fry remains keen on stepping The Cap Fits to Grade One level at Aintree, despite being disappointed with his effort.
He said: “Noel (Fehily) said he never really travelled. It was frustrating we couldn’t run in the Kingwell last week. He wasn’t good enough today and Noel did well to finish second the way he was travelling.
“We vaccinated him last week. It was not the plan in such close proximity to a race. Hopefully his run was just down to that.
“He is not entered at Cheltenham and we have six weeks until Aintree and we still plan to go there. He was beaten a length and a half giving the winner 4lb.”
The Josh Gifford Memorial Novices Steeplechase was won impressively by Whatswrongwithyou trained by Nicky Henderson and ridden by Nico de Boinville. The eight-year-old gelding justified was sent off at evens and came home 17 lengths clear of the remaining two runners in this race. He will now be aimed at the Grand Annual Chase.
Local jockey Leighton Aspell won the Novices Hurdle race by ten lengths on board an up and coming youngster, Tarada, trained by Oliver Sherwood. A Kayf Tara gelding, Tarada was sent off at 9-4 and impressed with a positive run, moving into second and taking the lead in the closing stages of the race.
The next meeting at Fontwell Park is on Wednesday March 6. Gates open at 12 noon and the first race is at 2.10pm and the last at 4.40pm.