It had to happen. On the day millions of people worldwide watched Prince William marry Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey, Royal Wedding won at Fontwell Park.
Grand National-winning jockey Liam Treadwell led from the front on board the aptly-named runner in the first race of the track’s evening meeting just six hours after the royal nuptials, the Crabbies Alcoholic Ginger Beer Handicap Steeple Chase.
And when he stormed up the final straight well clear of his nearest rival, the 6,000-strong crowd went wild.
No-one could have written a better script and Phil Bell, general manager of Fontwell Park, who had talked trainer Nick Gifford into entering the horse - tipped to win on this website on Thursday - on royal wedding day, said: “The story sbout him running has gone all around the world - but the story of him winning will be ten times bigger.
“We’ve had interest from Australia, Spain, Germany, everywhere. I didn’t really think he’d win - the staff here didn’t put anything on him - but his owner Don Trangmar was quite bullish.
“He said he was in really good nick and back to his best - and he was right.”
Trangmar, a former chairman of Sussex County Cricket Club, spoke of his delight at the win as he celebrated in the winner’s enclosure with Nick Gifford and his famous ex-trainer father Josh.
: “I’m delighted. I always thought he had a chance.
“It’s lovely for Nick (Gifford) who has such a hard job following in his dad’s footsteps. Nick, Liam and the stable lad who looks after him deserve so much praise.”
Treadwell, for whom Fontwell is his local track, likened the atmopshere as he rode back past the crowds in the stands after winning as like returning after a big win at Cheltenham.
He said: “I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t felt a bit of pressure because of all the interest in the horse. But once we were out there he got into his rhythm and it all went to plan. He jumped really well and dug deep.
“It was a nice feeling coming back in, a bit like coming down the hill at Cheltenham, What a brilliant atmosphere.”
There might have been a nice follow-up story 90 minutes later when Princely Hero, ridden by another jockey with Sussex connections, led for a spell in the Tricia and Clive Wilson 40th Wedding Anniversary Handicap Hurdle - but he ended up well beaten. The win was claimed by Celticello - one of four horses numbered one to win on the night.
The whole event goes down as a big success for Fontwell. Bell said it was one of their biggest crowds for years.
Punters enjoyed British band music, street party-style entertainment and sideshows andf, after racing, music by The Magic of Take That and Robbie.
5:30 | 1 Royal Wedding (L Treadwell, 4-1 ); 4 Take A Mile (Jimmy Derham, 6-1 ); 7 ran. 5 Psi (J E Moore, 5-2 fav);
Distances: 12 lengths; 9 lengths;
Winning trainer: N J Gifford.
Tote: £4.40; £1.70; £3.30; Exacta: £42.90; Swinger: £4.70; Swinger: £5.70; Swinger: £3.20; CSF: £28.87;
6:05 | 1 Adrenalin Flight (Jimmy Derham, 33-1 ); 5 Gtaab (D Elsworth, 8-1 ); 7 Lord Liath (Charlie Huxley, 4-9 fav); 9 ran. 6 Lombok (J E Moore, 9-2 2nd-fav);
Distances: 2 lengths; Short Head; 9 lengths;
Winning trainer: J W Mullins.
Tote: £27.20; £5.90; £2.00; £1.10; Exacta: £217.90; Swinger: £10.80; Swinger: £1.70; Swinger: £7.40; CSF: £266.29;
6:35 | 6 Free To Air (J W Farrelly, 1-2 fav); 4 Herald Angel (C Timmons, 7-1 ); 3 ran.
Non-runners: Katalak; Midnight Diamond; Absolute Shambles; Kiltimoney;
Distances: Short Head; 99 lengths;
Winning trainer: Tim Vaughan.
Tote: £1.30; Exacta: £3.00; CSF: £3.58;
7:05 | 1 Celticello (Mr R Mahon, 11-1 ); 8 Magic Prospect (S Thomas, 6-1 ); 9 Al Amaan (J E Moore, 9-1 ); 10 ran. 11 Rare Symphony (C P Geoghegan, 7-2 2nd-fav); 6 First Smash (Harry Skelton, 3-1 fav);
Distances: ½ length; 1¼ lengths; 4½ lengths;
Winning trainer: Jamie Snowden.
Tote: £15.40; £3.10; £1.50; £2.80; Exacta: £94.20; Swinger: £15.30; Swinger: £9.10; Swinger: £12.10; CSF: £77.64; Tricast: £631.00;
7:35 | 1 Play A Cord (M J Quinlan, 11-2 ); 5 She’s Humble (A Thornton, 13-2 ); 7 ran. 3 King Of Leon (Stephen O’donovan, 11-4 joint-fav);
Distances: 15 lengths; 4 lengths; 7 lengths;
Winning trainer: N P Mulholland.
Tote: £7.70; £2.60; £2.30; Exacta: £46.00; Swinger: £5.50; Swinger: £3.00; Swinger: £3.40; CSF: £37.44;
8:05 | 3 Rossbrin (Mr I Popham, 10-11 fav); 2 Cousin Maggie (C Timmons, 20-1 ); 7 ran. 1 Aconitum (M J Quinlan, 9-2 2nd-fav);
Non-runners: Red Lancer;
Distances: 5 lengths; 5 lengths; Short Head;
Winning trainer: Mrs A E Brooks.
Tote: £1.80; £1.10; £4.30; Exacta: £16.70; Swinger: £8.60; Swinger: £17.70; Swinger: £4.60; CSF: £17.32; Tricast: £172.39;
Placepot: £111.80 Quadpot: £29.50