Thursday, 14 December 2017


Some of these jockeys just let themselves go, Tom Scu and gang pose with the winner of the Fontwell's Christmas jumper competition
The festive feeling was about at Fontwell park, only two more meetings at the East Sussex course for 2017 but the Festive Fontwell race day braved the cold element sweeping the UK at present to  make it a joy for the punters that braved the cold to watch the seven race midweek card on offer.

Trainer Gary moore after the win with Aiguille Rouge
in the opening Juvenile Hurdle

The opening race a 2m 1f juvenile hurdle nine runners went to post. The in form yard of Dan Skelton sent off the  10/11 fav, but the winner came from the popular yard for the Fontwell faithful of Gary Moore as Aiguille Rouge ridden by Jamie Moore beat the favourite a good distance back in fourth with runner up Acaro an eight length second.
The french bred three year old filly seemed to relish the heavy twisting figure of eight course with only her third run for the Moore team.

Hard pressed from three out the juvenile held on well up the inclined run in and looked an impressive sort, and i should reckon is one that would of caught the eye of the master of Sisswood racing stables.
Jockey Jamie Moore riding his 26th winner of the season was pleased for the filly and also the owners The Winning Hand Partnership who have put a lot of faith into this three year old by Falco.
Jamie Moore riding his 26th winner 
A filly to watch, and it would be plain to see likes the cut in the ground it would not surprise me if this one turns out well from her run, and we see this filly out again Boxing day at course and distance, the ground looking like not to improve much over the weeks. We could be in with a fair quick follow up shout.

The second race of the seven race card was over the larger obstacles for the novices over 2m 2f.
Greyed A (right) with runner up Bobonyx (left)
Champion Jockey Richard Johnson riding for  Richard Newland took the 15/8 shot six year old grey, ably named Greyed A to the front two out and stayed on well with very little pressure from the Shane Quinlan ridden horse Bobonyx eight lengths back in second.
' He loves very soft ground, but with the conditions very testing we just schooled him around for the first two circuits before putting him into the race, but he has picked up nicely for me and won it well in the end.'
The jockeys coming in mentioning the ground as very testing, but wet enough for the horses to get through it seemed to fall short for the favourite of the the race the 5/4 shot Staunton from the Richard Vaughan yard who finished fourth of the four runners at post.
The grey by the horse of the year at the turn of the millennium Daylami pulled up in his maiden voyage over fences when going to post the 3/1 fav, but certainly made up for that with a impressive win in testing conditions.
Greyed A
Johnson now on his 116th winner of the season, still on top rankings and hungry as ever to take rides on. The horse one to note as the season moves forward.

Nearly half way through the card, the 2m 3 f novices hurdle went to the top weight favourite from the in form Skelton yard.
Roksana ridden by Harry Skelton took the inner rail around the home turn before taking the race up two out pulling away in the end from placed horse The Vocalist from the Henderson string by fourteen lengths.
Roksana ridden by Harry Skelton

' She is really progressing in the right way, and i like the way she finishes her races going up to the line giving her all.'
Mention the jockey now on winner 99 for the season.
' She is going in the right direction and next season she could really be anything, a little bit free on her opening runs but she has certainly settled down well now.'
With two wins from fours starts, in addition coming out of the stable in good form this five year old mare by Dubai Destination looks a sort to sit up and take note, especially beating a decent horse from team Henderson in The Vocalist by a commanding distance in testing ground and giving away 6lbs
The jockey now on the brink of his 100th winner certainly enjoyed this one, little did he know it was to be his day in the next.

' She is going int the right direction and next season she could really be anything.'

The main race of the afternoon the £4812 to the winner 3m 2f handicap chase not only put a double for the day for team Skelton but also placed jockey Harry Skelton on 100 winners for the season. Sixteen behind the champion Richard Johnson.
Riding all winners for his brother Skelton bought home 100/30 shot Get on Yager seven lengths in front of 15/8 fav top weight Ramses De Teilee for the David Pipe yard.
'I was mentioning to the owners just now this horse is a proper National Hunt horse, soft ground three miles over fences. He really enjoyed it out there.' mentioned the jockey delighted with his 100th win.
'It was not until April last year I got the 100 up North. I could of not done this though without the work of Dan (Skelton) and the guys at home who have put a hell of a lot of work in to get me the 100 so early.'
Jockey Harry Skelton on 100 winners for the season

The jockey ever so humble realises that the chase for rides in the weighing room is fierce, not bothered at all that all the winners have come from his brother and not outside contacts. 'it's a hard game, most yards know have three to four jockeys after rides so I'm blessed that  Dan is doing so well to give me 100 winners.'
100/30 shot Get on Yager seven lengths in front of 15/8 fav top weight Ramses De Teilee for the David Pipe yard.
The seven year old gelding now on four wins from nine starts looks like he will have good times ahead for owners Dick and Mandy Higgins, and will certainly be close to the heart of the jockey for months to come

£500 given by Fontwell to the winner of the
best Christmas jumper

Evens favourite Our Merlin took  the 2m 1 f handicap hurdle, six went to post for Robert Walford to send his five year old gelding on his eighth outing to claim his second win in no less than eight days, the last being at Plumpton.
Ridden by Harry Cobden who took the gelding around the outside for most of the way around mentioned,' He was much more enthusiastic here today that at Plumpton last week,'
Our Merlin
Blandford trainer Robert Walford mentioned the gelding did not show anything at all last season, asked for the reason why he said, 'He was just very week actually, i used to ride his mother Lorgenette and she liked it very soft also. He jumps well enough and it would be nice to get him in again before the weights get really hoicked on him, we will see.' The horse would look like he would take a fence maybe would take his chance in Novice chasing if the handicap seems to be an issue, but one to look out for when running again that's for sure.
Our Merlin  leads the firld of Marmont 3rd and The mighty Ash

Norphin  with owners after his 20/1 win in the
2m 3 f Handicap hurdle
The penultimate race a 2m 3 f handicap chase, four went to post Anthoney Honeyball saddling the 5/4 fav Le Coeur Net for Noel Fehily.
Four out Fehily made his move to take up the running on the favourite. A blunder causing the unseat of the Irishman leaving the 20/1 shot bottom weight Norphin to make his move and slip the field to make a twenty length lead over Spiritofchartwell already a winner and two runners up spots to his credit at the course.

Jockey Liam Treadwell mentioned,' the light weight and testing ground suited this fella, we have planned to get round and see what's what with him really, he jumped well and he is what he is, but off the weight it would not have surprised many if he went in with a good run .
Trained by Seamus Mullins who mentioned much of the same about the horse on his maiden win from thirty one starts, 'it shows there is a race for every horse really, but you always have to be in the race to have a shot at the race, i honestly though the ground was a little too soft for him.'
The Master of  Wilsford Stables also has this ones full brother in the year coming on well but was happy with jockey and horse on his performance  for the day.
Norphin pulls away from placed horses Spiritofchartwell and Bound Hill

The final race of the afternoon a there year olds and upwards handicap hurdle over the 2m 3f went to the six year old mare Willshebetrying from the Mark Hoad yard. Ridden by last seasons champion novice rider  point to pointing James Bowen turning professional at the beginning of the season. The six year old mare on her first win of her eighteen  starts took the race on at the final hurdle and staying on well up the Fontwell incline to beat Project Mars by a couple of lengths.
The filly who on form looks to have loved it the heavy surface the jockey mentioning,'She has proven form on the ground and half way round i thought i was in with a chance, with my claim she was entitled to have a good run today and it is now hoped she can continue to progress for the owners.'
Willshebetrying takes the lead after the final hurdle from Project Mars (right) and Clondaw Westie on the inside
The jockey under the stable of Nicky Henderson looked eager for the rest of the season with things going to plan for the young jockey.
A meeting for the brave at Fontwell in a week forecasted for some really wintry blasts as the days go on.
Next meeting at the course is the Boxing day meet, a good attendance expected to match with the races to boot, we could be in for  a cracking afternoon's racing on the 26th.

All of 2017 meetings blogged from Fontwell can be viewed at