BLACK Lightning fulfilled all promise when winning the opening handicap hurdle in wet conditions at Fontwell Park yesterday- providing Findon trainer Nick Gifford with a well deserved win.
The six-year-old gelding had shown promise in his early National Hunt Flat races, but when running over hurdles he had previously been well beaten. By Whitmore’s Conn, he benefited from a change in headgear for his latest race- and also was reported to have had wind surgery.
Here he was ridden for the first time by Tabitha Worsley and the duo clearly established a good rapport with Black Lightning putting in a good performance under his new rider- comfortably beating 8-1 shot Ormskirk, trained by Johnny Farrelly.
Not only that but much-loved stablemate Brown Bear, also ridden by Tabitha Worsley and sent off at 5-1, put in a fine effort when he finished a good second in the Jack Parnell Handicap Chase over two miles five furlongs.
The Maiden Hurdle race saw jockey Bryony Frost add to her growing tally of race wins, when she partnered five-year-old bay mare Slaine, sent off at 4-1 and trained by Neil King, to a fluent five length victory over 14-1 shot Moans Cross, a five-year-old gelding trained by David Bridgwater. The evens favourite, Dancing In The Sky, sent off as evens favourite for trainer Dr Richard Newland, ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies, finished third.
The Mares Novice Hurdle Race, over two miles three furlongs, attracted nine runners – with 11-10 favourite Jaunty Soria, ridden by Sam Twiston Davies, trained by Neil Mulholland winning by just under three lengths in what proved to be a competitive finish.
Runner up was 33-1 shot Fu Fu, trained by Robert Walford and ridden by James Best. They in turn beat home Tara Niece, trained by Seamus Mullins, sent off at 17-2, by just a neck.
Trainer Johnny Farrelly made the trip from Somerset pay off when he sent out eight-year-old gelding Bermeo to win the three miles two furlongs handicap chase in good style, ridden by Tom Cannon.
A Fontwell Park date for the diary is the highly popular Ladies Evening at Fontwell Park will take place on Thursday August 22 this year. Gates open at 2.30pm with the first of seven races at 4.40pm and the last at 7.50pm.