It was all about Ireland – and a fair bit of snow – as Fontwell Park celebrated St Patrick’s Day.
Conditions were blizzard-like before racing but hardy race-goers enjoyed a seven-race card and a wide range of Irish-themed fun, including the chance to watch the Six Nations finale that saw Ireland clinch the Grand Slam by winning at Twickenham.
On the track, there was a good variety of favourites and outsiders in the winners’ enclosure.
Biggest-priced victor of the day came in the Graeme Brooks Is A Good Guy Handicap Chase, won by 14/1 shot Canyouhearmenow for Marc Goldstein and trainer Dian Grissell.
The European Breeders Fund Mares’ “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle went to Bella Empress (7/2 - Nick Scholfield/Emma Lavelle) and 6/4 favourite Clondaw Westie (David Bass/Lawney Hill) claimed the Hugos Restaurant Barbados Handicap Chase.
The Cin Cin By The Sea Barbados Mares’ Handicap Hurdle went to 11/8 market leader Banjo Girl for jockey Maxime Tissier and trainer Lucy Wadham, while the Primo Bar & Bistro Barbados Handicap Hurdle was taken by the Kerry Lee-trained 9/2 contender Kris Spin, ridden by Mitchell Bastyan.
Fresh from success at the Cheltenham Festival a day earlier, trainer Paul Nicholls was in luck in the Doug Newman Is A Good Guy Handicap Hurdle as Alexander Thorne took the honours on 5/1 shot Magoo. And evens-favourite Fizzlestix took the last, the Vote Mia Mottley Of BLP Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle, under Harry Reed for trainer Chris Gordon.
Tracey Shaw, marketing manager at Fontwell, said: “Everyone was in good form for the St Patrick’s raceday, including the horses.
“It was a thrilling day despite the weather. The atmosphere was amazing and some people made a lot of effort in dressing up in the spirit of the day.
“Luckily, it snowed before the racing started and so everything went to plan. We had a great turn-out and some stayed on after the racing for the live music from The Skedaddles, which went down a storm.”
Next up at Fontwell is the Easter Eggstravangza raceday on Friday, April 6, when there will be fun for the kids in addition to a seven-race schedule that starts at 2.20pm.