Chase debutant Calipto primed for lift-off at Fontwell

Paul Nicholls
Paul Nicholls
Markov and jockey Tom Bellamyon their way to victory. Picture: Fontwell Park

Honeyball hat-trick lights up Fontwell

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Calipto will make his eagerly-anticipated chase debut at Fontwell tomorrow.

And Paul Nicholls will be hoping his charge can get off to a winning start in the Southampton Makes More Sense Beginners’ Chase at 3pm.

The five-year-old son of Califet will face four rivals on the unique figure-of-eight course.

But none were in his class over hurdles, where the French-bred talent reached a career-high mark of 149.

Fourth in the Grade 1 JCB Triumph Hurdle at the 2014 Cheltenham Festival and third in the juvenile contest at Aintree’s Grand National meeting the following month, Calipto has the quality to win – provided he stays upright.

Fontwell favourite Gary Moore will saddle Halling’s Wish and Denmead’s Michael Madgwick is set to run Money Talks.

Both have tasted success at the West Sussex venue but toppling a fully-fit Calipto represents a stiff assignment for them.

Harristown and Fontwell newcomer Wadswick Court make up the field for the £10,000 race over 2m 3f.
The meeting kicks off with the ABP Southampton Gateway to World Novices’ Hurdle (2.25pm).

And dual bumper winner Board Of Trade will aim to launch his career over timber in style.

Alan King’s unbeaten four-year-old son of Black Sam Bellamy rattled off wins at Exeter and Haydock last season.

There will be no shortage of talented opponents looking to lower his colours, though.

Nicholls will saddle Mr Mix, who was third on debut at Auteil before making the move across the Channel.

The French recruit is a son of Al Namix and half brother to jumps stars such as Saphir de Rheu, Grandouet and Solix.

General Ginger and Take A Break have already won over hurdles so must defy penalties, while Chris Gordon is preparing to unleash his Flat recruit Hallingham.

Meanwhile, Iniesta will represent West Sussex’s Gary Moore.

The Solent Stevedores Handicap Hurdle is due off at 3.35pm.

Seven contenders have been declared, with Oliver Sherwood’s 132-rated Drum Valley the top rated.

Course winners Taradrewe, who has won her past two starts, and Mercers Court are among his rivals.

Only four contenders will go to post in the Society Of St James Handicap Chase at 4.10pm.

Fontwell favourite Venetian Lad is gunning for his seventh win at the track.

The penultimate race is the ABP Keeping Britain Trading Conditional Jockeys’ Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (4.45pm).

Moore’s 100-rated Shalianzi tops the weights but his jockey, George Gorman, will claim 8lb.

The meeting climaxes with the ABP Cruise Southampton Stakes Mares’ Intermediate Bumper at 5.15pm.

Storrington’s Richard Rowe will saddle the unraced Sweet ‘n’ Chic, who is one of four daughters of Midnight Legend in the race.

Pollyogan flopped her debut at Newton Abbot - when she was sent off favourite.

And trainer Harry Fry will be hoping his Oscar mare can step up on that performance.

For more information, visit fontwellpark.co.uk