Boxing Day fun set to cap big year for Fontwell Park

Boxing Day action at Fontwell in 2015 / Picture by Clive Bennett
Boxing Day action at Fontwell in 2015 / Picture by Clive Bennett

A brilliant year for Fontwell is topped off with a very healthy number of entries for the big Boxing Day race meeting.

A grand total of 68 horses have been declared for seven races at the festive fixture as staff get prepared for the most popular meeting in their racing calendar.

Gates open at 10am and racing begins at 12.05pm with the Rathbourne Ltd Of Bath Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle, ending with the Southern Cranes Access Handicap Chase at 3.25.

The biggest number of entries for the Pertemps Network Group Novices’ Hurdle at 1.10pm, which has attracted 14 interested parties.

Among entries across the card are some popular Fontwell names, including Venetian Lad who many regular racegoers will have seen before.

Venetian Lad even has a Boxing Day win under his belt – having won the 32Red On The App Store Handicap Chase in 2014.

Paul Nicholls is top of the course’s leading trainers’ table at present with eight wins from only 15 runners. But that amazing strike rate of 53 per cent could change on Boxing Day when Nicholls has three runners entered.

Trainer Dan Skelton has entered Bertenbar after taking over training rights from Lawney Hill in October. Skelton will be hoping for the same success as Hill had when Bertenbar won at three consecutive meetings at Fontwell Park at the beginning of the year.

Paul Nicholls is top of the course’s leading trainers’ table at present with eight wins from only 15 runners. But that amazing strike rate of 53 per cent could change on Boxing Day when Nicholls has three runners entered.

His biggest threat at the top of the leaderboard is Neil Mulholland, who has two runners and remains a close second with six Fontwell wins so far this season.

Our Boxing Day tips: 12.05 Mrs Burbidge, 12.35 Rainbow Dreamer, 1.10 Knightly Pleasure, 1.45 Bishops Court, 2.15 Darebin, 2.50 Lapalala, 3.15 Kid Kalanisi.

Boxing Day traditions have grown over the years with sporting venues making it to the top of the list. As well as a popular day for the football fanatics, racecourses find themselves the attractive option for families and friends looking for fresh air at their local track rather than another day in the house eating and drinking too much in front of the TV.

With one of its biggest crowds of the year, Fontwell Park gets transformed into a winter wonderland with families and friends arriving in their masses.

In between the seven races you can meet the reindeer, skate on the ice rink or even get your face painted.

Nine race meetings take place all over the country on Boxing Day including Wolverhampton, Sedgefield, Wincanton, Market Rasen, Huntingdon – and Kempton who host the famous King George VI Chase.

This is one of the most popular races of the year and Fontwell Park, as always, will be showing this live on the big screen for all to watch.

Last year former Fontwell favourite Cue Card won the King George with an exceptional display and Colin Tizzard’s superstar returns to try to retain his crown this year, though will be up against stablemate Thistlecrack.

The crowd at Fontwell cheered Cue Card’s win last year as if England had scored a goal in a World Cup final. Can lightning strike again?

All Fontwell premier tickets and hospitality options have sold out but grandstand and paddock tickets will be available to purchase on the gate.

As always, Fontwell Park offers free entry to all under-18s and all the entertainment on the day is also free.

As we look towards 2017, Fontwell host three race meetings throughout January on Sunday 8, Sunday 22 and Sunday 29, so there’s plenty of opportunities to get over your January blues and enjoy a day out at the races. Visit Fontwellpark.co.uk for more.

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