Focus on Fontwell: Track’s biggest day is nearly here

Boxing Day action at Fontwell Park / Picture by Clive Bennett
Boxing Day action at Fontwell Park / Picture by Clive Bennett

It’s been a fantastic year at Fontwell Park, yet the best is still to come, writes racecourse executive director Simon Williams.

Boxing Day racing is Fontwell’s biggest raceday of the year with a huge crowd set to descend on the Sussex track for what has quickly become a Sussex tradition.

This year Fontwell Park has gone all out on making sure that this Boxing Day will be a day to remember. New for 2015 there will be a free synthetic ice rink and reindeers.

The ice rink is creating a real buzz for this year’s Boxing Day racing. Ticket sales have been very strong, selling much better than previous years. I am sure there will be lots of people queuing up to get their photo taken with the reindeer.

The day will also include a host of other entertainment including game stalls, face painting, festive treats, a beer marquee in which to keep warm and all the action from the King George VI at Kempton Park on the big screen.

Premier admission tickets have now sold out, but paddock tickets are still available. Also, limited places remain in the hospitality marquee.

Gates open at 10.30 and racing begins at 12.20pm, with the last of seven races off at 3.45.

Last year, Funtington trainer Lydia Richards was celebrating a festive double as Venetian Lad won the 32Red On The App Store Handicap Chase and Volio Vincente took the Debra Clayton-Kyriakou 50th Birthday Celebration Handicap Chase, both ridden by Marc Goldstein.

That partnership could be worth following again if they are present, while another trend worth noting is that not one of the favourites won last Boxing Day, with 10/1 shot Rosa Imperialis the biggest-priced winner for trainer Robert Walford in the Happy 60th Birthday Peter Bomphrey Mares’ Handicap Hurdle.

Heading into 2016 there are two Sunday fixtures in January on Sunday 24 and 31. January also sees the six-year anniversary of Colin Tizzard’s Cue Card winning his first race, which was at Fontwell on January 25, 2010.

Cue Card has become a huge success with wins at Cheltenham, Aintree, Ascot, Haydock and Newbury. He is also targeting the King George VI Chase at Kempton for Boxing Day.

For the past couple of years the January fixtures have been abandoned because of weather conditions.

However there are high hopes that the unusually-warm weather in December is set to carry over to January, so we are hopeful these racedays will take place again to start our 2016 programme on a high.

See the Observer next week (Dec 23) for a further preview of the Fontwell Boxing Day action – and a chance to win a pair of Fontwell membership badges for 2016

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