Jamie Moore used his knowledge and experience of the Fontwell Park track to carry One Of Us to glory in one of the course’s biggest races of the year.
The Nick Williams-trained seven-year-old (9/2) and course specialist Moore just held off the challenge of Lorcan Williams on Captain Cattistock (5/2 favourite) to claim the MansionBet Southern National and the £13,000 first prize for connections.
Victory was by a neck, making it an agonising defeat for the Paul Nicholls-trained runner-up after a three-mile, three-furlong slog on a track that was soft, and heavy in places.
The Two Amigos, with Matt Griffiths on board for Nicky Martin, was third, ahead of last year’s winner Shanroe Santos, ridden by Leighton Apsell for Lucy Wadham.
The Southern National was the highlight of one of Fontwell’s biggest meetings of the year.
Paul Ellison, Fontwell Park’s executive director, said: “Our biggest and toughest race of the season didn’t disappoint this year, with a thrilling finish to the Southern National and a fantastic day of jumps racing.
“We were delighted to see more than 2,000 racegoers enjoying the day, creating a buzzing atmosphere.”
Elsewhere on a seven-race card Moore enjoyed another winner while Aspell made up for missing out in the National with two of his own.
Moore teamed up with trainer father Gary for an expected success on the 4/11 favourite Goshen in the S & G Caravan Services Juvenile Hurdle.
Aspell won the John Rogerson Memorial Novices’ Handicap Chase on Eclair De Guye (5/2) for trainer Wadham and was on board for Sheena West for a 3/1 success on Kenny George in the last, the Sky Sports Racing Sky 415 Handicap Hurdle.
The meeting began with a second Fontwell success in a matter of weeks for Funtington trainer Lydia Richards, for whom Rex Dingle rode 11/8 favourite Good News to a seven-length win in the Visit attheraces.com Novices’ Handicap Hurdle.
The 8/1 shot Song For Someone took the Sky Sports Racing Virgin 535 Handicap Hurdle for James Nixon and Tom Symonds, while Minella Voucher (4/1) took the Follow At The Races On Twitter Handicap Chase (Richie McLernon/Alexandra Dunn).
That’s not the end of a busy period for Fontwell.
Ellison added: “We’re looking forward to our festive fixtures, with Festive Jumpers raceday on Tuesday, December 10, including a £500 prize for the best Christmas jumper.
“Boxing Day, our busiest raceday of the year is already selling fast.”