Nicholls takes Southern National crown at Fontwell

The Southern National field at Fontwell / Picture by Clive Bennett

The Southern National field at Fontwell / Picture by Clive Bennett

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Champion trainer Paul Nicholls clinched a Fontwell Park treble - including the totepool Southern National.

The ten-year-old Aerial, who started the race at 12/1, took advantage of a poor jump at the last by Fergal Mael Duin to take the lead and go on to win by two and a half lengths under Jordan Williams, with the 4/1 favourite coming in second. Gavin Sheehan was third on Cyclop in the field of 15.

Nicholls was delighted to see Aerial prevail in his first run since June last year.

“It was a great team effort. It was Jordan’s third ride over fences – he’s been patient and he’s given it a great ride,” Nicholls said.

The weather was perfect for Southern National day with a good crowd enjoying cold but clear conditions.

There was two minutes’ silence at 11am to mark Remembrance Day and the racing began with Sussex’s Jamie Moore putting in a superb effort to take the Kerry Le-trained Magic Mustard (3/1 fav) to the win in the toteplacepot Novices’ Handicap Hurdle.

Fontwell favourite Tom Cannon got up after a tumble in the Southern National to take the next, the toteexacta Salmon Spray Handicap Hurdle, on Remiluc, a 12-length winner for Hampshire trainer Chris Gordon.

The John Rogerson Memorial Chase was a second Fontwell success of the afternoon for Nicholls - it was taken by 11/4 shot More Buck’s, ridden by Sean Bowen, who beat our tip Monbeg Gold, second at 12/1.

Soon, Nicholls was celebrating a treble and Bowen a double as the duo teamed up to take the Happy Birthday Joan Fines Maiden Hurdle with 7/2 starter Peak To Peak.

All in all it wasn’t a bad day for Nicholls, but he wasn’t at Fontwell to see his success. Instead he was at Cheltenham, where just for good measure he had another winner.

Also at Fontwell, Adam Wedge rode the 11/4 favourite On The Road to victory in the totetrifecta Handicap Hurdle for trainer Evan Williams and the action ended with Royal Salute claiming the totepoolliveinfo.com Handicap Chase at 7/2 for David Noonan and Anthony Honeyball.

STEVE BONE

See the Southern National raceday action in the Chichester Observer on Thursday

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