IT WAS all about jumpers at Fontwell Park’s last meeting before Christmas.
The four-legged variety provided the main entertainment of the afternoon, while festive pullovers were in abundance as racegoers chased the prizes in the racecourse’s annual competition.
On the track, the trainer-jockey partnership of Chris Gordon and Tom Cannon showed why they’re always ones to watch at Fontwell with Ballyheigue Bay’s win in the 32Red.com Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase.
The 4/1 was one of two winners tipped on the Observer website on the morning of racing – the other being Bidourey’s 5/2 success in the 32Red On The App Store Juvenile Hurdle for David Pipe and Tom Scudamore.
It wasn’t such a good for Fontwell veterans Fruity O’Rooney and Morestead, running in the Axio Special Works Handicap Chase and 32RedPoker.com Handicap Chase respectively.
There are no better-supported horses than that pair among the Fontwell faithful but on this occasion Fruity had to settle for third behind 5/4 favourite Theatrical Star, ridden by Brendan Powell for Colin Tizzard (whose victory can be seen in the video above). And Morestead finished fourth as Liam Treadwell guided 16/1 chance Sitting Back to the win for trainer Diana Grissell.
It was a good day for favourites.
Other than Theatrical Star’s win, the Philip Hobbs-trained Meetmeatthemoon won the 32Red Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle after going off 7/4 favourite with Michael Nolan on board, while Richard Newland’s Aficionado took the J.A.M. Electrical Supporting Love You Hospital Handicap Hurdle, the 9/4 contender ridden by Christopher Ward.
The biggest-priced winner of the day saw Upham Running take a 16/1 victory in the Free Bets At raceclear.co.uk Handicap Hurdle, ridden by Kieron Edgar for Hampshire handler Kate Buckett.
In between racing, Fontwell officials judged the Christmas jumper contest and it was won by Simon Lane from the Witterings, sporting a splendidly-colourful sweater that even featured a flickering log fire.
That’s it for jumps action at Fontwell until Boxing Day – see previews in the Chichester Observer between now and the big day.
See this week’s (Dec 11) Chichester Observer for a chance to win one of 20 pairs of tickets to Fontwell’s Boxing Day meeting