Jamie Moore might have come to Fontwell as the man of the moment but it was two of his weighing-room colleagues who took the glory as he failed to follow up his Queen Mother Champion Chase win at Cheltenham.
The Sussex rider teamed up with trainer dad Gary for the memorable top-level victory with Sire de Grugy at jump-racing HQ in the week but he was back to his local track for a busy afternoon’s racing on Saturday - and he ended with no winners.
Instead Tom Cannon - showing the form that made him Fontwell’s top jockey in 2012 and 2013 - and Felix De Giles who were each celebrating a double.
And while there was no repeat of Cheltenham honours for Gary Moore, another Sussex handler was in the winner’s enclosure after Cannon’s first win as he guided Cove (15/8) first home in the opener, the EBF Stallions Mares’ National Hunt Novices’ Hurdle. See video of this race at the top of this article.
Cannon scored a second time with the 15/8 favourite Chris Gordon-trained Benny The Swinger - tipped on this website on Friday night - in the 32Red Free £10 Bonus Handicap Chase.
In between, De Giles won two in a row - taking the 32Red Immortal Romance Slot Handicap Chase with evens favourite Umberto D’Olivate for Robert Walford and then the 32Red.com Handicap Hurdle on 4/1 shot Henryville for Harry Fry.
Andrew Thornton won the 32Red Casino Handicap Chase on 7/4 contender Itoldyou, trained by a woman in form at Fontwell, Linda Jewell, before Andrew Tinkler claimed the 32Red Tomb Raider II Slot Handicap Hurdle on Brendan Powell’s Phantom Prince, at 8/1 easily the biggest-priced winner of a sunny afternoon at the figure-of-eight track.
The last race, the 32Red Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle, went to another evens favourite Solstice Son, ridden by Gary Derwin for Anthony Honeyball.
Fontwell officials, who had the familiar figure of Phil Bell back as stand-in track boss for the afternoon as they await a new general manager, would have been delighted by the fine weather that brought out a decent-sized crowd who enjoyed some Irish-themed entertainment to celebrate St Patrick’s Day, which falls on Monday.
After losing four of their first five meetings of 2014 to the weather, this was just what was needed - and just what the track deserved.
See the Observer on Thursday for pictures and reaction from the meeting.