Record crowd makes Fontwell family day a racing success

Fontwell Park hosted one of the biggest crowds in its history as the sun came out for its action-packed bank holiday weekend family raceday.

Denis O'Regan on his way to one of his three victories, this one on Very Extravagant / Picture by Nigel Bowles
Denis O'Regan on his way to one of his three victories, this one on Very Extravagant / Picture by Nigel Bowles

A bumper number of entries, free kids’ entertainment and warm temperatures combined to draw 9,987 to the track for an eight-race card.

It’s the highest number of race-goers since records began and meant the Equiniti-sponsored family fun day was one to remember – although the sheer volume of people did bring some traffic congestion and a few delays getting into the racecourse.

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Track marketing manager Max Roberts said: “It was an absolutely fantastic crowd here and we’d like to say thank-you to everyone who attended.

“The entertainment was wonderful and thanks also goes to all companies involved in making this run as smooth as possible.

“The racing was fantastic and saw trebles for jockeys Denis O’Regan and David Noonan and trainer Neil Mulholland, plus a double for trainer Anthony Honeyball and a win for our 2015-16 top jockey Tom Cannon.”

Jockey O’Regan and trainer Mulholland teamed up for three wins.

First they took the second division of the Equiniti International Payments Handicap Hurdle with a four-and-a-half length win on 11/1 chance Maid of Tuscany.

Next came victory by the same margin in the Equiniti Leaders In Technology Handicap Hurdle with 9/2 starter Very Extravagant, and the treble was complete when Vexillum took the Club Together With Equiniti Handicap Chase at 9/2, this one by 14 lengths.

O’Regan wasn’t the only rider to notch three wins – David Noonan did the same, two of them for trainer Anthony Honeyball.

The duo took the Family Fun Raceday With Equiniti National Hunt Maiden Hurdle on 1/6 favourite Fountains Windfall and repeated the trick with 9/2 contender Chill Factor in the David Glynn-Jones Septuagenarian Handicap Chase.

In between, Noonan won division one of the Equiniti International Payments Handicap Hurdlefor trainer Polly Gundry on 9/2 joint favourite Sir Dylan.

Other winners were Miller’s Maverick (16/1), ridden by Nick Scholfield for trainer Grant Cann, in the Selftrade Trade Anywhere Mobile App Handicap Chase and Rocknrobin (11/4 fav) – ridden home by Fontwell favourite Cannon for Hampshire trainer Chris Gordon in the Shares ISA From Selftrade Handicap Hurdle.

Fontwell staged a midweek meeting yesterday (June 1) - which at one stage looked like ending early amid worries over a slippery track following two fallers in one race.

Mulholland was in luck again for his fourth Fontwell win in four days - as evens favourite Pass The Time won the Shoreham Port Novices’ Chase under Tom Scudamore.

Biggest-priced winner of Wednesday’s racing was Kentford Heiress in the Thank You Equinti For Family Fun Handicap Hurdle, the 8/1 chance giving Andrew Thornton his 993rd winner in the saddle, this one for Wiltshire trainer Seamus Mullins.

Fontwell holds its final card before its two-month summer break next Tuesday (June 7), with a farmers’ market complementing racing.

Longer-term, Fontwell’s next family day is on Sunday, September 4.


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