Good turnout at Fontwell Park this week

FONTWELL PARK Racecourse enjoyed a good turnout for its December Raceday this week. The going was soft but heavy in places and a good crowd turned out to enjoy the racing.

The successful team of trainer Chris Gordon and jockey Tom Cannon continued their run of successes when winning the opening race of the meeting, a handicap hurdle with 8-1 shot Jimmy.

The Premier Celtic, trained by Pat Phelan and ridden by Sean Houlihan was five lengths further back in second place, and the Ali Stronge-trained Heresmynumber, ridden by Adam Wedge in third place at 33-1.

Only four ran in the Novices Handicap Chase over three miles one furlong, with three finishing the race. It was won  by French bred 4-5 favourite, Christmas In April, trained by Colin Tizzard and ridden by Harry Cobden.

In second place was Irish-bred Gleno, ridden by Joshua Moore, and trained by Gary Moore. The 7/2 shot put in an improved performance,staying on well but was always held by the winner. In third was Tea Time on Mars, trained by Sean Houlihan and trained  by Susan Gardner.

The Juvenile Hurdle attracted a good field of 13 runners, with 5-2 shot Zamani , trained by David Bridgwater winning by six lengths under a good ride from Brendan Powell.

Brendan Powell and Zamani
on their way to victory
Photo courtesy of Fontwell Park Racecourse

In second spot was 20-1 shot John Betjeman, trained by Mark Gillard and well ridden by James Davies, with the Jim Boyle trained Isle Of Wolves, ridden by Robert Dunne, in third, also at 20-1.

The Adam Morey Handicap Chase over three miles one furlong disappointingly attracted only three runners, and was won by Quarenta (5-4 favourite) with Diplomate Sivola (7-4) the only other finisher, in second place.  Eleven-year-old Irish-bred Bally Longford, trained by Colin TIzzard and twice a winner this season, unseated his rider  Harry Cobden at the first obstacle, where the horse knuckled on landing.

The Mares’ Novice Hurdle saw a 20-1 winner for trainer Warren Greatrex, when he sent out Martha Brae, ridden by A P Heskin  to win in the final strides from 11-10 favourite Mystic Dreamer, trained at Findon by Nick Gifford and ridden by Leighton Aspell.
This runner-up impressed when winning at Cheltenham earlier in the year. She is one to keep an eye on, for this five-year-old bay mare is a progressive sort and was unlucky not to win here, having been beaten only by a neck.

Promising mare  -Mystic Dreamer, trained by Nick Gifford

Nick Gifford said afterwards: “She didn’t cope with the extremely holding, tiring ground and got very tired and hung left all the way up the straight . It’s all part of the journey, she was only beaten 14 lengths and they all finished very much in a bunch .
“We will see how she comes out of the race . Then we will look for another bumper with better ground similar to the going on her previous run at Ascot , possibly even a left handed track.”

The Handicap Chase was won by Hugo’s Reflection, swent off at 9/2, trained by Ben Case and ridden by Kielan Woods. This horse was a winner last season and looks to have progressed well, with more to come.

Eleven runners contested the final race, the John and Maryanne Birch Memorial Handicap Hurdle, which was won well by Clondaw Robin, sent off at 11-2, trained by Zoe Davison and ridden by Page Fuller.
Runner up was Moonlit Sea ( 11-1), trained by Pat Phelan and ridden by Sean Houlihan, with 10/3 favourite Pottlereaghexpress, trained by Toby Laws and ridden by Leighton Aspell in third place.
The next meeting at Fontwell Park will be on Boxing Day, when gates open at 10.15am and the first of seven race is at 12.15pm and the last at 3.35pm.
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