Focus on Fontwell: Southern National shapes up to be a classic

WE'RE looking forward to hosting one of our biggest races of the year this Sunday '“ the Totepool Southern National, writes Fontwell Park marketing executive George Hill.

Some good-sized fields are in prospect on Totepool Southern National day  Picture by Clive Bennett
Some good-sized fields are in prospect on Totepool Southern National day Picture by Clive Bennett

It’s the feature race on a card of seven and we’re delighted to have had 21 entries for the race, which is worth £20,000.

Last year’s winner Incentivise is among the entries in the hat ahead of final declarations. Trained by Richard Lee and ridden again by Micheal Nolan, the ten-year-old is bound to be one to watch.

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Another interesting entry is Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Pettifour, who won the Sefotn Hurdle at Aintree a few years back.

Then there’s Venetia Williams’ runner Emperor’s Choice, who won three times early this year on heavy ground – which is what we’re likely to have on Sunday.

We had to abandon last Friday’s meeting because of the sheer amount of rainfall we’ve had in the past couple of weeks and the ground is still heavy now.

But the forecast is good for the rest of the week so we should be fine for Sunday.

Entries for the rest of the card are excellent, too. We have 128 in the frame across the seven races and there are some good horses – and plenty of past Fontwell winners – among them.

The Toteexacta Salmon Spray Handicap Hurdle has attracted 19 entries and these include Foxcub, trained by Tom Symonds, who won at our October Festival.

Elsewhere on the card, there are a couple of Paul Nicholls runners who’ll attract plenty of interest if they run – V Neck, who was a comfortable winner of a good point to point race, goes in the 1.15 and Benvolio, who is entered in the 2.55, who has had wins at Wincanton on soft and heavy ground.

The gates open on Sunday at 10.30am and the first race is at 12.45pm, with the last at 4pm.

We’ll have a pets’ corner, funfair and bouncy castles for youngsters and Channel 4 will be here to show the Southern National, which is a nice bit of exposure for us.

If the weather holds up, we’d hope to have a crowd of 3,500 or 4,000. Advance bookings are ahead of the same stage last year.

After Sunday, we’ll be turning our attentions to fixtures for the rest of the year – and to next year now our 2014 fixtures (which will be published in the paper next week) are out.

Annual membership is available for just £199 if you book before December 10.

Get tips for the Southern National meeting on this website on Saturday.