Giles Cross takes thrilling Southern National at Fontwell

The 15/2 shot Giles Cross won a close totepool Southern National at sunny Fontwell Park in wehat many regarded as one of the best renewals of the race for some years.

The Victor Dartnall-trained runner, with Denis O’Regan in the saddle, led for much of the gruelling three-mile totepool-sponsored contest but had to hold off a strong challenge from the 4/1 favourite, Rey Nacardo, holding on to win by a length-and-three-quarters.

Fortification was only a neck behind the favourite in third and Aldertune, trained by Paul Nicholls, was fourth.

Only six of the 16-strong field finished, not unusual for a race that takes everything even out of horses with excellent stamina.

The £13,000 national was the highlight of a great day’s racing in front of a large crowd, who also enjoyed demonstrations by the emergency services.

The Tikram Handicap Hurdle (for the Salmon Spray Challenge Trophy) went to Tom O’Brien on board the 5/2 favourite Bally Legend, trained by Caroline Keevil.

The toteexacta Handicap Hurdle went to Martin Keighley-trained 2/1 shot Always Bold while Daryl Jacob took the John Rogerson Memorial Beginners’ Chase on 5/6 favourite Current Event.

Brendan Powell, riding High Oscar (4/1) for Sussex trainer Richard Rowe, won the toteswinger Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase.

And there were again two wins for horses backed on this website on the morning of racing - including a 20/1 success for Stephen Donovan on Fox Appeal for trainer Emma Lavelle in the last, the totetrifecta Maiden Hurdle.

Our other successful tip came from Gerald Quinn on 7/4 favourite Tribal Dance in the Ocasan - Not All Heroes Wear Capes Novices’ Handicap Hurdle.

We also tipped a second, a third and, in the 16-runner Southern National, a fourth.

For a report and pictures from today’s meeting, see the Observer on Thursday.

They race again at Fontwell on Wednesday week, November 23 - see this website for tips on the morning of racing.

STEVE BONE