One of racing’s lesser-known trainer-jockey partnerships scored an unlikely double at Fontwell - and the trainer and her horses were lucky to get there at all.
Violet Jordan heard a rattling noise in her truck on her way to West Sussex and later discovered her horsebox had survived a problem with a loose wheel.
And she was glad to get there in one piece after seeing Will Kennedy ride a back-to-back double for her on board 16/1 shot Jerry Lee in the Check Betfair Before You Bet Handicap Hurdle and Killfillan Castle (6/1) in the Betfair For Better Odds Handicap Steeple Chase.
The first leg of the double was fortuitous in itself - Kennedy having a clear run from the last, where the previous long-distance leader Marie Deja La unseated Tom Cannon when it looked like nothing could go wrong for him.
After her double Jordan - who’d not had a winner for 11 months - admitted the Gods were with her after getting her to Fontwell safely and then allowing her a double.
“We don’t get many doubles and it’s wonderful to get one,” she said. “It’s great for everyone involved in the operation. I get a lot of help from my sisters and family and we’ll all be celebrating this, I can promise you.
“Days like thiso make all the hard work through the winter worthwhile.”
Kennedy escaped a ban when the stewards questioned him over his use of the whip during his second victory but found him not in breach of the rules.
Jordan is not a handler seen too often in the winner’s enclosure at Fontwell - but elsewhere on the card there were some familiar victors.
Big guns AP McCoy and Richard Johnson were well-beaten in the last, the Better Prices On Betfair Mobile Standard Open National Hunt flat race, by Leighton Aspell on the Oliver Sherwood-trained Puffin Billy, the 9/4 second favourite, who had plenty to spare.
Earlier there was the latest in a long line of Fontwell successes for West Sussex trainer Richard Rowe, who saw 10/3 shot Current Climate - tipped on this website this morning - put some recent disappointments behind him with victory under Paddy Brennan in the Betfair Don’t Settle For Less Handicap Steeple Chase.
Rowe was jubilant with the victory and entered the whip debate by holding up the horse as an example of a runner who would probably have pulled up had Brennan not been able to use the whip halfway round.
Rowe said: “Current Climate has been threatening to win, He had a back problem last season and had taken time to find his form. He didn’t enjoy the first two circuits here but showed that with the right treatment, horses can prosper.’
Fontwell’s seven-race card, which followed an exclusive look ahead to the Cheltenham Festival for local punters who heard some tips for next week from a panel of experts, kicked off with Aidan Coleman taking the Venetia Williams-trained Shangani, the 11/10 favourite, to victory in the Coffin Mew Solicitors Maiden Hurdle Race.
Dave Crosse on board Cypress Grove (5/2 second favourite) - also tipped on www.bognor.co.uk - claimed the Read Nicholls And McCAin on Betfair Handicap Steeple Chase for west country trainer John Ryall.
Heavenstown, at 33/1 the biggest-priced winner of the day, won the Betfair Brings You Better Value Novices’ Hurdle Race with Rhys Flint on board. But Flint picked up a five-day ban for overuse of the whip.
Fontwell’s next meeting is on Thursday, March 22.
In this week’s Observer (March 8) read Fontwell executive director Phil Bell’s personal tribute to Josh Gifford - and read how an Observer reader has met the John Dunlop-trained colt she has a special reason to follow over the next two years.