A bumper crop of entries has been received for one of Fontwell Park’s biggest race meetings of the year.
Some 83 horses have been declared for seven races for today’s Southern National card.
The totepool Southern National itself – which will be shown live on Channel 4 – has attracted a total of 16 entries.
With the first race scheduled for 12.25pm, an absorbing day’s action is in the piepline with the feature race, worth £15,000 to the winner, early in proceedings at 1pm.
The Southern National is run over three miles and three furlongs and two runners from last year’s race are among the entries – Pete The Feat trained by Charlie Longsdon and last year’s runner-up Finish The Story, trained by Johnny Farrelly.
Other trainers with Southern National entries still in the frame include Paul Nicholls, Jonjo O’Neill, Gary Moore, Philip Hobbs, Colin Tizzard and Chris Gordon.
Ed Arkell, Fontwell’s clerk of the course, said: “Obviously we are very pleased with the huge number of entries in both the Southern National race and across the whole card.
“The rain has come at the right time to give trainers the opportunity to run their soft-ground horses which they haven’t yet had a chance to.
“This, combined with the increased prize money, has obviously made an appealing fixture for trainers and we look forward to a competitive day of racing.”
Originally this meeting was called Sussex National day with the idea it would be run at Fontwell one year and Plumpton the next.
This was later changed to the Southern National so Fontwell Park could continue staging the popular fixture on an annual basis.
Action begins with the toteplacepot Novices’ Handicap Hurdle and also includes the toteexacta Salmon Spray Handicap Hurdle.
The last race – the totepoolliveinfo.com Handicap Chase – is off at 3.50pm.
Hospitality is selling fast for Sunday and the Premier Restaurant has sold out. Fontwell hare opening their Tecom Lounge restaurant for anyone who doesn’t want to miss out.
With the end of the year fast approaching, the next meeting at Fontwell gets race-goers into the Christmas spirit – it’s the Festive Raceday on Tuesday, December 6.
That features seven races and a Christmas jumper competition in which the winner will get a £500 prize.
The Fontwell year, as ever, comes to a big finale with Boxing Day racing when the racecourse will be turned into a winter wonderland with ice rink and reindeer and thousands of race-goers will escape the Christmas rush for one of the most popular meetings of the year.
Crowds will be able to watch the King George Chase at Kempton on the big screen.
For advance savings and other offers for Sunday and all forthcoming meetings, see www.fontwellpark.co.uk or call 01243 543335.
Our Fontwell tips for Sunday: 12.25 Tenant Farmer, 1.00 Cloudy Copper, 1.35 St Saviour, 2.10 Monbeg Gold, 2.45 Savoy Court, 3.15 Romeo Americo, 3.50 Bonds Conquest.
* Rain hit Fontwell’s six-race card last Friday - although connections of Chief Bottlewasher weren’t too worried.
Conditions saw a number of pre-race withdrawals and left it a tw-horse race between the Charlie Mann-trained runner and odds-on favourite No Hassle Hoff, trained by Dan Skelton.
Bridget Andrews was way out in front on the market leader but was unseated at the last flight of hurdles, leaving Tommy Dowling to run through the gap left by the fallen hurdle and go on to win uncontested at odds of 9/2.
It wasn’t all bad news for Skelton, who’d earlier seen Ian Popham ride the 10/11 favourite Yes I Did to victory in the TBA EBF Mares’ Beginners’ Chase.
Other winners on the day were Yukon Delta, Midtech Valentine, Innocent Girl and Markov.
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