THE first Boxing Day meeting at Fontwell Park attracted a bumper crowd last week with almost 8,000 racegoers festive fun and racing, with six races as well as a wide range of stalls and children’s entertainments.
The first planned Boxing Day fixture at the track in 2010 was cancelled because of frost, but racegoers made up for it this year with the excellent turnout. There was some queing to get in and out of the racecourse, but Fontwell officials say that access arrangements will be reviewed for next year.
Racecourse executive director Phil Bell said :”I’d rank it as one of my best days at Fontwell. Northern Racing took over the course in 2002 and this was the biggest crowd we have had in all that time.
“The volume of traffic was a bit of a problem in terms of the the time it took to get everyone in and out but we already looking at how we can improve that next time. This fixture is ours for good now and I think the first one has given us a lot to build on.
“In terms of actual events to go to, there is not a lot for families to choose from on Boxing Day and I think the numbers who came clearly demonstrated that.
“There would have been a lot of people among them who had never been to Fontwell before. We hope they enjoyed the experience and will come back time and time again.”
Horsham trainer Gary Moore enjoyed success in the penultimate race with Sawago winning over fences, ridden by Noel Fehily. The was 15 lengths clear of his nearesr rivals in the Ward-Thomas Master Renover Handicap Chase.
Top trainer Nicky Henderson took the opening race in style when 10/11 favourite Problema Tic won the Mercedes Benz of Chichester Classic Beginners’ Chase by 15 lengths.
Miss Milborne ended a sequence of five second places with a win for trainer Jamie Snowden in the Butlins Bognor Regis Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle. The 11/10 favourite took over the lead two from home.
The only non-favourite to win was Nick Mitchell’s Miss Fleur in the Express Printing Handicap Chase.
Another odds on 5/6 favourite, Whatshallwedo, trained by in-form Tim Vaughan, had travelled from Wales to take the Winner Tool Hire Handicap Hurdle.
Claimer Daniel Mullins gave Terra Bleu a fine ride for trainer Brendan Powell to win by 13 lengths in the Butlins Bognor Regis Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle.