FOR once, Fontwell Park benefitted from the sun NOT shining.
Poor weather can make or break a weekend race meeting, but on Sunday, bosses at the figure-of-eight track reckoned the fact there wasn’t much sign of summer did them good.
The track’s bank holiday family raceday attracted more than 6,600 people, giving them one of their best-ever attendances and beating even their own good-weather predictions.
General manager Phil Bell said: “It was a staggering number to attract given that the weather was nothing special.
“We can only think that because it wasn’t hot and sunny, people who had been planning to have a barbecue or go down the beach wanted something different to do.
“The main thing was it wasn’t cold or raining, so Fontwell Park was a pleasant place to spend the afternoon.
“We were delighted to see so many people come in, and the feedback we had on the day was excellent.”
On the track a couple of close finishes raised the roof, while two jockeys celebrated doubles.
Matt Crawley was successful on 5/4 favourite Bajan Sunshine – tipped to win on this website – in the Seabay Corporation Handicap Chase, then followed that up by winning the next, the Luke And Luke Construction Handicap Hurdle, riding Lastroseofsummer at 9/2.
Richard Johnson was the other double-scorer, teaming up with trainer Tim Vaughan for a 23-length success with 8/13 favourite Themanfromfraam in the Sussex Sport Magazine Novices’ Handicap Chase and 9/2 contender Tae Kwon Do in the last, the 888Sport –150% First Bet Matchup Handicap Hurdle.
Sunday also saw Fontwell team up with Sussex FA to run football-related sideshows and offer local players cut-price admission.
Fontwell concludes its 2010-11 jumps season with an evening meeting next Thursday when eight will be the magic number.
There will be cheap admission to some parts of the figure-of-eight course, while 88-year-olds can get in free. Call 01243 543335 for further details.
Don’t forget you can get tips, previews and results for all Fontwell meetings on this website.