HE might not be in the running to win the most talked-about prize of the night – but that won’t stop BBC sports personality of the year Tony McCoy winging his way to Fontwell Park this evening.
The champion jockey is among a number of riders due to fly to the figure-of-track from afternoon rides at Stratford to take part in the Ladies’ Night race card.
McCoy is scheduled for only one ride at Fontwell – he will partner Fit To Drive for top trainer Brendan Powell in the Yeomans Honda Handicap Hurdle at 6.55.
A number of other top jockeys and trainers are also appearing tonight. Richard Johnson, currently third in the jump jockeys’ championship, is booked to ride in all six races on a card which begins at 5.20 with the Spiffing Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer Novices’ Hurdle and ends at 8pm with the Sobe Pure Rush Handicap.
Two of the current top three in the trainers’ championship – Tim Vaughan and Donald McCain – have entries among the 45 registered across the six races.
There will be a couple of Sussex-based trainers looking for success. Gary Moore has Al Terrain in the 888Sport Handicap Chase at 7.30 while Alison Batchelor’s hopes include Clu Agus Cail in the SES Autoparts Novices’ Handicap Chase at 6.25.
Another trainer, Peter Hedger, who used to be based next to Fontwell, will be looking to repeat 2010 success in the night’s opening race, which last year was the first to be run in front of the newly-opened Premier Grandstand.
Hedger, who had a winner at Goodwood last week, sends Franco Is My Name to post in the same race this year.
Off the track, the big draw is a £2,000 prize which will go to the best-dressed lady. Judging will take place throughout the evening.
Fontwell bosses are hoping the dry weather forecast will bring out a bumper turnout. General manager Phil Bell said: “We’d hope for a crowd of around 6,000.” Gates open at 3pm.
After racing, there’s music until around 9.30 from The Magic of Motown. Call 01243 543335 for information.