Fontwell Park celebrates 100th birthday – and £290,000 purchase is star attraction on track

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Fontwell Park Racecourse will stage its centenary raceday on Thursday to celebrate 100 years of racing at the track.

While plenty will be going on off the track for the celebrations, there is plenty of action on the track too with a seven race card in the evening, kicking off at 5.10pm and rounding off three hours later at 8.10pm.

The opener (5.10) sees a big field of 14 take to the track for the 2m1f class four mares’ novices’ hurdle and £290,000 purchase Break My Soul is set to be a heavy favourite. The Nicky Henderson-trained five-year-old has placed on her first three starts and got off the winning mark at Chepstow last time and should be the one to beat in race one.

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Race two is for the stayers with a 3m1f handicap in class four up next at 5.40. Earth King didn’t have a great campaign last season but is dangerously handicapped here having tumbled down the weights and returning to the smaller obstacles with top jockey Harry Cobden on board. The main threat can come from Island Run, twice a winner over hurdles and has placed twice this spring as well.

Who will be in the winner's enclosure at Fontwell Park on Thursday? Picture: Clive BennettWho will be in the winner's enclosure at Fontwell Park on Thursday? Picture: Clive Bennett
Who will be in the winner's enclosure at Fontwell Park on Thursday? Picture: Clive Bennett

The third race on the evening card is a novices’ handicap chase in class five with ten runners set to tackle the 2m3f trip around Fontwell (6.10). Trainer Dr Richard Newland has had a good start to the summer jumps season and he has Rajjmataz entered here, who is taken to go one better than his promising second at Exeter in March. Guivinec looked handy when tackling fences for the first time at Fontwell last month and rates as the chief danger.

A 12-runner handicap hurdle marks the midway point of the Fontwell card (6.40) and preference here is for Mermaids Cave, who landed a nine-runner contest at Fontwell eight days ago and despite shouldering a 7lb penalty here, remains the one to beat. Tara Iti is also of interest, a course and distance winner who bounced back to form when third of nine in a Fakenham contest nine days ago for local trainer Gary Moore.

Another Moore runner, Jolyjump, is the selection in race five (7.10), a six-runner handicap hurdle over 2m3f which was won by Moore last year with In The Air. Jolyjump was a decent second at Fakenham last week and can go one better, but Hecouldbetheone won at Fontwell when last seen and is up 7lb here in the weights which he could defy to win.

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The penultimate race of the meeting is race six on the card at 7.40 - a class five handicap chase over the 2m1f trip. Dan Skelton, runner-up in the British trainers championship this year, sends the promising Lone Soldier to Fontwell, an encouraging third with a tongue tie fitted at Wetherby in Mark and is sent chasing off a very attractive mark.

Finally, the card comes to a close with a bumper (8.10) - a Flat race run over Jumps rules for potential chasers of the future - and preference of the 12 runners here is for Jubilant for trainer James Owen, a £40,000 recruit from Irish point-to-points who got off the mark under rules at Huntingdon three weeks ago and is taken to defy his penalty to follow up in Sussex.

Fontwell selections - Thursday (via Grosvenor Sport)

5.10 - Break My Soul

5.40 - Earth King

6.10 - Rajjmataz

6.40 - Mermaids Cave

7.10 - Jolyjump

7.40 - Lone Soldier

8.10 - Jubilant

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