King aiming to launch new season at Fontwell

Panjo Bere, who runs at Fontwell tonight
Panjo Bere, who runs at Fontwell tonight
The sun ought to shine for Fontwell's Thursday afternoon racing

Irish raiders among the Fontwell fields

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Alan King will bid to land his first winner of the new campaign at Fontwell this evening.

One of Great Britain’s leading National Hunt trainers, King is a regular visitor to the West Sussex track.

He has a fine strike-rate at the venue, too, with 22 wins in his past 80 visits.

King’s triumphs at the course include two Grade 2 National Spirit Hurdle successes – with My Way De Solzen and Trenchant respectively.

And after the new jumps term officially began on Tuesday, the Wiltshire handler will be looking to start in style.

He has a hat-trick of chances as Fontwell host their first evening meeting of the summer.

Hindon Road looks the leading light in the opener – the Shripney Gardens Caravan Park Maiden Hurdle (5.15pm).

A winner on his second bumper outing, the five-year-old has been placed in three of his four hurdles starts.

Having risen to a mark of 123, he has plenty in hand on tonight’s rivals and jockey Wayne Hutchinson will be hoping to steer him to an overdue first win.

King will also saddle Dunraven Prince in the Jay Belle Lodges Handicap Hurdle (7.15pm).

The five-year-old is entering handicap company for the first time.

And although he has yet to hit the mark since arriving from Irish points, he should be capable of better than his rating of 95.

The meeting comes to a close with the bumper – the FJ Willett & Son Memorial National Hunt Flat Race (8.15pm) – and King will be hoping for a bold show from Desert Robe.

Second to Lataradud on debut, the Wiltshire trainer is entitled to hope for improvement here.

Elsewhere on the card, Fontwell favourite Gary Moore has entered Panjo Bere in the West Sussex Classic Scooters Handicap Chase (5.45pm).

Having won off a mark of 145, the two-time course winner has since slipped to a rating of 114 and ranks a big threat.

The David Pipe-trained Barton Stacey is among 11 horses declared for the Moscow State Circus Handicap Hurdle (6.15pm).

The AD Mechanical Handicap Chase (6.45pm) is set to feature veteran William Butler – from Chris Gordon’s Winchester yard.

And the Peter Broughton Memorial Sponsored By T1 Engineering Handicap Chase (7.45pm) has attracted eight contenders.