Leo Luna can continue Fontwell love affair
Gary Moore believes Leo Luna's love of Fontwell Park makes him a threat in the TI Engineering Crane Services Handicap Chase on Monday (2.15pm).
The eight-year-old skipped the valuable London National Handicap Chase at Sandown yesterday in favour of the 3m 2f feature, which has attracted six declarations.
An Irish-bred son of Galileo, he saves his best form for Fontwell – where he is already a two-time winner.
He was also a three-and-three-quarter-length second to the Jonjo O’Neill trained Adam Du Breteau in the same contest last season.
Leo Luna has been sidelined ever since that race and as a result the handicapper has dropped him 3lb to an official rating of 124.
But while it is his first run back, Moore is relishing the chance to unleash his charge in the £10,000 battle on Fontwell’s famous figure-of-eight.
The Lower Beeding trainer said: ‘Leo Luna is looking good. Obviously, it’s his first run and that’s always difficult.
‘But it’s a track he runs his best races on and that’s why he’s running in this race.
‘He was in a couple of other races over the weekend but he has a liking for Fontwell and the hill.’
Moore has booked his son, Jamie, to ride Leo Luna, whose stable-mate Stoical Patient will also aim to improve a fine record at the track.
The eight-year-old daughter of Shantou is bidding for a four-timer in the nine-runner Libation Bar & Eatery Handicap Chase over the extended 2m 3f (3.15pm).
The first and third legs of Stoical Patient’s hat-trick came at Fontwell – the most recent a six-length defeat of Spiritofchartwell last month.
But despite a 29lb rise since losing her maiden tag last September, Moore reckons his Irish mare is still slightly ahead of her official rating of 100.
He added: ‘Let’s hope we can make it four from four. She is in good heart at the moment, she’s gone up in the handicap but is still running at the same grade.
‘She goes to Fontwell with every chance and I would just about say she is on the right side of the handicap.’
Elsewhere on the seven-race card, Moore saddles Argyle against eight rivals in the John & Maryanne Birch Memorial Handicap Hurdle over the extended 2m1f (2.45pm).
And he has Knightly Pleasure among a 12-runner field for the 2m3f Boughton’s Handicap Hurdle at 3.40pm.
The Fontwell favourite added: ‘Hopefully Argyle can go there with a chance. He was second to The Game Is A Foot at Lingfield last month.
‘That one has since come out and won again, franking the form, so I think he would have a reasonable chance at Fontwell.
‘Knightly Pleasure could run well, too. She ran well the other day, coming back off a long break, and hopefully can improve on that. So I’d give her every chance.’
Monday’s card will begin with 12 doing battle in the NJS Juvenile Hurdle at 12.45pm before six go in the TI Engineering Novices’ Handicap Chase (1.15pm).
The action continues with the 13-runner Salisbury Hardwood Flooring Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at 1.45pm, when The Vocalist is set to make her debut for Nicky Henderson.