Saturday, 3 October 2015


The first day of a double card at the East Sussex course. Bumper crowds and good weather mixed with small but interesting fields,set for a six race meet.
A dry Autumn is seeing the big stars of the jump game stay within their boxes,waiting for the rain to soften the good to firm ground on offer at Fontwell. But horses who like the speed within the turf come out and take their chances.
Trainer Alan King did so that, Oceane, ridden by Wayne Hutchinson, took the 2m 1 f maiden well. Never looked like being beaten, and gave favourite backers every chance.


The trainer said he was nervous for this juvenile as he went off,most of his quality string still working and schooling on his all weather surfaces, as he to, is waiting for the rain to soften the turf.
Most of his good horses still at the pre stage of their preparation at present, and it is hoped by the end of the month some maybe ready to begin there claim to fame. This three year old by Kentucky Dynamite may go to Kempton next time out, depending how he comes out of this battle, though not too many questions were asked on the day.

Fontwell being a family friendly course, saw this carry over to the competition.Father and son duo Peter and Sean Bowen, sent Danimix down to the start of the 3 m 1 f handicap chase for conditional jockeys. Sean who recently lost his claim mid week at Cheptsow, still has till Sunday to use his weight allowance, and his first ride as a fully fledged professional jockey saw him steer this ten year old favourite home well. Always looking the winner went clear three fences out to eventual second Sahntou Tiger.

The next race, a 2 m 1 f handicap hurdle, saw another favourite take from the bookies purses. Richard Johnson, who is a leading contender for champion jockey this season, had the mount on Charlie Longsdon's Shear Rock. The five year old with a trio of back to back wins, starting from the early spring, drew well clear of Chris Gordon's Disputed.

Shear Rock

Johnson on his 89th winner of the new campaign said 'I though i may of lost it at the second last. It was all down to how well Tom Cannons horse picked up, but my fella battled well up the hill'

The horse, will get the two and half miles as time goes on, but at the moment, the distance was long enough, and is sure one to put in the note books if the ground stays on the firm side of good.

Brothers Harry and Dan Skelton made a quick double for the day.Workbench, mapped out by his trainer to take this £11,710, 2 m 1 f chase feature race of the day, led well before the last and duly made good his price of 3/1, beating David Pipes Purple and Gold by eight lengths.
' Once the rain comes' said the jockey 'these races will be much more competitive, so we must take our chances'


Trainer Dan Skelton's double

Sir Mangan
Another 3/1 shot, same jockey and trainer. This time a 3 m 1 f  Handicap hurdle Sir Mangan led easily over the last and stayed on well to beat Cannon Fodder by three lengths. This Severn year old by Darsi,versatile winning on soft on good ground making it a good day for team Skelton.

The last race of the day a 2m 5f novice chase for conditionals, saw two runners go to post.


 Mesute (above) unseating his rider Jack Quinlan at the second while taking a keen hold, left Noel Fehily and Henryville, to battle the rest of the course alone.

The 1/9on favourite had obstacles all the way, fences, loose horses and an enthusiastic crowd. But kept to the task well and landed the £5,198 prize.

Henryville, Noel Fehily
The six year old, by Generous gelding, not having a run since the National meeting, giving Harry Fry his 100th winner as a trainer. And is sure not to have an easier outing again this season.

Images from this meeting, as well as the second day at Fontwell can be seen at