Winning is in the blood as Fontwell's Oktoberfest fun begins - plus Saturday tips

Mellow Ben wins at Fontwell / Picture: Fontwell Park
Mellow Ben wins at Fontwell / Picture: Fontwell Park

Tom Cannon and Chris Gordon land a quick-fire double as winning proved to be in the blood on day one of Fontwell Park;s Oktoberfest meeting.

Doing Fine - a runner in last season’s Scottish Grand National - landed the James Todd Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Steeple Chase by a comfortable eight lengths. Philip Donovan had to work hard in the saddle, but the Neil Mulholland-trained 11-year-old asserted his dominance up the run-in, to beat Plantagenet after starting at 7/2.

Joshua Moore made all the running in the Glanvilles Damant Juvenile Hurdle on board Botox Has, who finished second in a listed race on his debut in Auteuil. The Gary Moore-trained 6/4 joint favourite surged to an 18-length victory in the contest, and could be a nice acquisition for the yard.

Continuing with the family theme, Dan and Harry Skelton’s partnership with Tommy Rapper was also a winning one - as the 11/10 favourite won the Visit Beginners’ Steeple Chase. Darlac got to within a neck - but was always beaten on the run to the line, with Skelton having plenty in hand.

It was second again for Colin Tizzard as 9/4 favourite Empreinte Reconce was denied a hat-trick by 1½ lengths in the James Todd & Co Handicap Hurdle. It was Cannon who steered Gordon’s Harefield to their first victory of the day – at 25/1.

There were doubles all-round in the Sky Sports Racing Sky 415 Handicap Steeple Chase - a race won last year by Ladbrokes Trophy winner Sizing Tennessee. Mellow Ben made it two in a row as Cannon and Gordon landed a quick-fire double. The 3½-length winner returned at 4/1.

Closing day one was the James Todd & Co Ltd Handicap Hurdle and this was another family affair as Lucy Gardner rode 13/8 favourite Tea Time Fred to a seven-length success over Cannon and Gordon’s Ramore Will for her mother Susan Gardner.

Off the track punters got stuck into plenty of Bavaraian-themed fun, with food, German beer and an oompah band keeping smiles on faces.

Racing at the West Sussex track continues today with the second instalment of Oktoberfest – featuring seven National Hunt races, and a Madness Tribute band who will play live after racing. Tickets are available on the gate – from £25.

Our Saturday tips: 150 Heavenly Promise, 225 Included, 300 Highway One O One, 330 Master Work, 405 Shut The Box, 440 Brown Bear, 515 Winter Getaway.