It was wet wet wet at Fontwell... now for a bit of Take That

Fontwell's latest meeting was on the wet side as more than 14mm of rain fell during racing, writes the racecourse's marketing manager Max Roberts. Newbury was due to race the same day but was abandoned after 4mm overnight and the going at Fontwell changed from good to soft to heavy in the morning.

Friday, 22nd April 2016, 3:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 6:38 pm
Frank N Fair, ridden by Frankie Penford, gives the young jockey his first victory / Picture by Clive Bennett

Although there were 24 non-runners for this eight-card meeting, there was still some absorbing racing.

A double for Conor O’Farrell and trainer Paul Nicholls with Saint Roque and Red Hanrahan kept Nicholl’s strike rate at Fontwell at an impressive 67 per cent this season – he has now had six wins from nine runners.

Saint Roque’s owner Ian Fogg was over the moon the day before he flew up to Ayr for the Scottish Grand National.

Of course luck was on his side again when his horse Vicente came first at 14/1 in the prestigious race.

Frank N Fair won the second division of the Salisbury Hardwood Flooring Ltd Handicap Hurdle but it was the jockey everyone was talking about. Frankie Penford is only 18 but in his fourth race he got his first victory to his name.

The last three meetings at Fontwell all have one horse in common – Bertenbar, trained by Lawney Hill. In three consecutive meetings, Bertenbar has come out on top for three wins in a row, twice with Aidan Coleman and most recently with Andrew Thornton, who is now nine wins away from the big 1,000.

Another horse seen recently at Fontwell who has done well subsequently is the National Spirit Hurdle runner-up Ubak, trained by Gary Moore.

Ubak has gone on to finish third in the Coral Cup at Cheltenham before winning a grade-three race at Aintree during the Grand National meeting.

The next fixture at Fontwell – next Friday, April 29 – sees the first of the track’s popular music nights of the year featuring the Take That Experience followed by a 90s disco from Spirit FM.

Gates open at 3pm with the first race set for 4.50pm. It’s a perfect chance to come racing after work and stay for the whole evening as the racecourse will stay open until late.

After last week’s fixture, Tom Cannon is back at the top of the Fontwell jockey leaderboard for the 2015-16 season, on eight wins – the same number as Noel Fehily. It has been a very close season this year and it can all change in a single meeting.

Fixtures to look forward to in May are the United Hunts meeting, a night of amateur horses running on the big stage on Thursday, May 12, and the first family fun day on Sunday, May 29.

This year’s family fun day will feature a host of free entertainment for the children including a large fun fair, a mini zoo, pony rides, face-painting, bouncy castle, laser tag, zorbing and a giant inflatable arena.

You can order your tickets in advance to save £7 off the gate price at or on 01243 543335.

by Max Roberts

Fontwell Park marketing manager

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