BIGMARTRE marked himself out as one to watch with a fine 20/1 win in the opening race of Fontwell’s midweek meeting.
The Harry Whittington-trained four-year-old streaked home by five lengths under Gavin Sheehan in the ABP Southampton Gateway To The World Novices’ Hurdle, the first of six contests run under grey West Sussex skies.
The 5/6 favourite Board of Trade was second for Alan King.
The rest of the card, watched by a decent crowd given the rain that had fallen for much of the day but which cleared soon after racing began, went more to form than the opener.
The Southampton Makes More Sense Beginners’ Chase was won by Sam Twiston-Davies on the 8/15 market leader Calipto, although they did have to ward off a strong challenge from Noel Fehily on Wadswick Court.
The class-three Solent Stevedores Handicap Hurdle was claimed by Drum Valley (see video above), ridden by Ben Ffrench Davis for Oliver Sherwood, nine lengths ahead of a horse previously unbeaten at Fontwell, Chris Gordon’s Lightentertainment, ridden by Fontwell’s top jockey Tom Cannon.
But Cannon soon made up for that loss in the Society Of St James Handicap Chase as he guided 8/11 favourite Fergal Mael Duin, trained by David Bridgwater, to a victory that wasn’t entirely straightforward. The horse was tipped on this website on Wednesday morning.
Dainty Diva, the 3/1 joint favourite, was a comfy six-length winner of the ABP Keeping Britain Trading Conditional Jockeys’ Novices’ Handicap Hurdle for Matt Griffiths and Jeremy Scott.
Racing ended with the ABP Cruise Southampton Stakes Mares’ Intermediate Open National Hunt Flat Race, which went to trainer and jockey brothers Dan and Harry Skelton with Late Night Lily (7/1).
Fontwell’s next meeting is on Friday, November 6, followed by the Southern National, their second biggest contest of the year, on Sunday, November 15.
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