Strong field set for Fontwell’s £80,000 race

Lil Rockerfeller and connections after their 2016 National Spirit win / Picture by Clive Bennett
Lil Rockerfeller and connections after their 2016 National Spirit win / Picture by Clive Bennett

A total of 13 contenders have been entered for Fontwell’s richest race of the year.

The £80,000 totepool Nationsl Spirit Hurdle, which has been going for more than half a century, is off at 3.20pm midway through the track’s strongest fixture of the year so far.

Among the higher-rated horses in the frame ahead of Friday’s final declarations include the Harry Fry-trained Air Horse One, Colin’s Sister (Fergal O’Brien), the 2016 winner of the race Lil Rockerfeller, trained by Neil King; Ubak, the Gary Moore horse beaten into second that day, and the Paul Nicholls-trained Old Guard.

Sunday’s seven-race card begins with the totequadpot Josh Gifford Memorial Novices’ Chase at 2.20pm.

This story will be updated about final declarations for Sunday’s card.

A double for trainer Colin Tizzard was the highlight of Fontwell’s six-race card last Thursday.

Braamble Brook (9/5) won the Happy Birthday Kate Digweed Love Gordon Racing Handicap Chase under Harry Cobden before Tizzard scored again in the bumper. the Liberty Leasing SME Finance Intermediate National Hunt Flat Race, when James Bowen on Jaytrack Parkhomes (3/1) came in a neck ahead of Looks Frozen.

Elsewhere on the card Paddy Brennan rode evens-favourite Night of Gloruy to victory in the Goodwin Racing Telephone Betting Juvenile Hurdle for Andrew Balding and Jaisalmer (Nico de Boinville/Mark Bradstock) took the Lorrain & Stephen Omahoney Celebrating 10 Years Novices’ Hurdle (Novices Championship Hurdle Series) at 2/1.

Minellatilmorning (4/7 favourite) justified top billing to take the Happy Birthday Sarah Cotty Handicap Hurdle for Noel Fehily and Neil Mulholland and the Liberty Leasing Asset Finance Handicap Chase went to 5/2 favourite Redmond for Nick Scholfield and Jack Barber.

STEVE BONE