Chaos at Fontwell: Champion jockey unseated at start - and 66/1 shot wins

Fontwell Park's first meeting of 2019 served up one of the most bizarre races you're ever likely to see.

Monday, 14th January 2019, 10:47 pm
Updated Tuesday, 15th January 2019, 9:07 am
Richard Johnson on board Umndeni before they parted company at the start / Picture by Clive Bennett -
Richard Johnson on board Umndeni before they parted company at the start / Picture by Clive Bennett -

Jockeys were unseated at either end of the race and the the first three home had odds of 66/1, 40/1 and 100/1.

The drama unfolded in the fourth race of the day – the class-five, 2m3f, Goodwin Racing Call 08000 421 321 Maiden Hurdle Race – when champion jockey Richard Johnson parted company with the saddle of 1/2F Umndeni as the starter lowered his flag – leaving him sore but not seriously injured, but sidelining him for the remainder of the day.

If that wasn’t enough, it took a photo-finish to decide the winner as 40/1 shot Carrick Roads’ late charge left him a nose short of 66/1 Hurdle debutant, My Destiny, ridden by Brendan Powell jnr for his namesake father the trainer. Crossley Tender stayed on for third at 100/1 – leading to the huge, resulting in a huge Tote payout.

Eventual winner My Destiny (No10) on the way to his shock 66/1 win / Picture by Clive Bennett

To cap a race which was memorable in more ways than one. Carrick Roads’ jockey Harry Cobden went on to be unseated after the line.

Cobden went on to pick up the mount of Johnson in the fifth race – the class four MC Property Cherry Picker Handicap Steeple Chase – steering Night Of Sin safely around the 2m3.5f circuit, to a 3 ½-length victory, at 3/1.

The Class 3 Butler & Co Racing Tax Specialists Handicap Hurdle Race – contested over 2m3f – got the meeting under way, with the track’s top trainer, Sussex's Gary Moore, saddling the 3/1 favourite winner Not Never – ridden two-and-three-quarter lengths clear at the line by son Jamie. It was tipped on this website on the morning of racing.

The 2m1.5f, Class 5, EBF Mares’ National Hunt Maiden Hurdle Race saw Aidan Coleman steer the Oliver Sherwood-trained 7/1 chance Millarville to a two-and-a-quarter length victory over 2/1-fav So Lonely for the Skeltons.

Midnight Bliss stayed on well under Bryony Frost to win the class four Joy And Steve Hardy Retirement Handicap Steeple Chase at 5/1 for trainer Caroline Fryer, beating the 4/1F Cucklington by half a length.

The meeting ended with 10/3 favourite Sky Full of Stars staying on under Tom Cannon to win the 2m1.5f Follow Us On Twitter At Handicap Hurdle Race by three-quarters of a length for Hampshire trainer Chris Gordon.

Your next chance to catch live racing at the West Sussex track will be Sunday, January 27. Gates open at 11:30am – with the first race going to post at 13:30. Tickets are available from £15 in advance.