Thousands flock to Boxing Day racing at Fontwell Park - rare dead heat is highlight of action

There was a festive atmosphere as a large crowd flocked to Fontwell Park’s traditional Boxing Day jump-racing meeting – and they were treated to a rare dead heat among a programme of exciting races.
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On a dry and at-times-sunny day, families shook off the Christmas Day cobwebs by venturing to the figure-of-eight track to enjoy an afternoon of seven races and plenty of off-track entertainment including a singing Santa and stilt-walkers.

Refreshment kiosks and bookies were doing a brisk trade as racing got under way with people still flooding through the entrances.

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It’s the track’s biggest fixture of the year, and after a 2023 when the weather has challenged them a number of times – and forced a couple of abandonments – staff were breathing a sigh of relief that conditions for the big day were just right.

Fontwell Park's premier enclosure was packed for the opening race of the Boxing Day meeting | Picture: Steve BoneFontwell Park's premier enclosure was packed for the opening race of the Boxing Day meeting | Picture: Steve Bone
Fontwell Park's premier enclosure was packed for the opening race of the Boxing Day meeting | Picture: Steve Bone

There was an early start to the racecard and it was not quite midday when the opening race – the Best Racing Odds Guaranteed At BetMGM Handicap Hurdle – got under way. That was won by the 4/9 favourite For Pleasure, ridden by Dylan Johnston for in-form trainer Olly Murphy.

There were only three runners in the opener but there were bigger fields to come in the rest of the day’s races.

The Boost Your Acca At BetMGM Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle was next up and it ended in a rare dead heat – as long-time leader Naturally High, ridden by Caoilin Quinn for Gary Moore, had to settle for a share of the spoils with Hobb’s Delight (Harry Kimber/Neil Mulholland).

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There was certainly no need for a photo finish in the next, the Win £2,000,000 With BetMGM's Golden Goals Novices' Hurdle, as The Good Doctor (5/2 favourite) romped to an eight-length victory under Beau Morgan for trainer Ben Pauling.

The BetMGM: It's Showtime Handicap Chase was claimed by Gorcombe Moonshine, ridden by Harry Kimber for trainer Robert Walford.

There was success in the Bet £10 Get £40 At BetMGM Juvenile Maiden Hurdle for the Quinn/Moore partnership, taking the honours with Bridge (3/1).

The BetMGM: Stay Golden With Responsible Play Handicap Chase sent to 2/1 favourite Captain Claude under Ben Godfrey for trainer:Anthony Honeyball snd racing ended with the Set Deposit Limits At BetMGM Handicap Hurdle, won by Lanspark (11/2) (Rex Dingle-Robbie Llewellyn).