Honeyball expects strong Breeze at Fontwell

Anthony Honeyball is excited to unleash Cresswell Breeze in the totepool Southern National Handicap Chase at Fontwell Park on Sunday (2.05pm).

Friday, 17th November 2017, 10:59 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 12:39 am
Cresswell Breeze on her previous appearance at Fontwell in 2015. Picture: Clive Bennett
Cresswell Breeze on her previous appearance at Fontwell in 2015. Picture: Clive Bennett

The seven-year-old daughter of Midnight Legend is primed to make her seasonal debut in the West Sussex marathon.

And the 130-rated mare is set to face nine rivals in the £12,660 feature contest after 65 horses were declared for the seven-race card.

Cresswell Breeze has failed to score in her past 11 starts after breaking her duck over fences at Wincanton by 19 lengths almost two years ago.

Nonetheless, she has delivered some solid efforts during that period, including third in the Hanlon Concrete EBF Glencarraig Lady Mares’ Handicap Chase at the Punchestown Festival in 2016.

And after his charge signed off last season with two respectable runs on successive days in Ireland, Honeyball is relishing Sunday’s comeback.

The Dorset trainer said: ‘Cresswell Breeze ran some great races last season without winning. We’re keen to have a go over the extended distances of 3m 4f and 3m 5f because she seems to stay very well.

‘She looked like placing at the Punchestown Festival for a second year in a row in April before being all but brought down two out. We then ran her the next day, which was a bit harsh on her, but she still finished eighth.

‘So we’re looking forward to Sunday. She handles any ground, she’ll handle Fontwell and should stay the trip.

‘She’ll be looking at a tier below the Grand National, maybe one of the trials. There are some very good races for her with £30,000 to £50,000 on offer.

‘The London National at Sandown on December 9 is worth £50,000 and I’ve got it earmarked provided it doesn’t come too quick for her. That’s the kind of race she could be winning.

‘She might not be quite good enough to campaign in a Welsh National. It would be worth a go down the line but these sort of races are well within her comfort zone.

‘She has run brilliantly at the Punchestown Festival two years in a row, so she obviously has ability.’

Honeyball has saddled more winners at Fontwell than any other racecourse since he began training in 2006.

Last Friday, he celebrated victory with Tacenda – his 100th runner at the course – before doubling up with Don Lami.

He is hopeful of adding to his tally of 29 wins on Sunday, with Jukebox Jive – rated 97 on the flat – among a handful of other exciting entries.

Honeyball added: ‘We love it at Fontwell. Horses have to travel well but they also need to stay up the hill.

‘When we take ours there, they are generally ready to go and have to be good enough to see it out. Sunday will be no different.

‘Jukebox Jive will be interesting. For a juvenile, it is quite a stiff test but his dam (Sweetheart) was a Grade 2 winner over hurdles and he has been running well at 2m 2f on the flat.’

Jukebox Jive goes in the Mike Brogan’s 40th Birthday Juvenile Hurdle at 12.55pm. Racing begins at 12.20pm, with the final race due off at 3.50pm.

Gates open at 10.20am. Click here for the full racecard. And for ticket information, visit fontwellpark.co.uk

Follow Fontwell Park on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest updates. And don’t miss reports and reaction to Sunday’s meeting at Portsmouth Sport – The News.