Plan B pays off for Gordon ace

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

Honeyball hat-trick lights up Fontwell

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Chris Gordon is praying for rain after saddling Lightentertainment to success at Fontwell.

The Morestead handler watched his six-year-old son of King’s Theatre soar to glory in the Thy Will Be Done Wills & Trusts Handicap Hurdle on Friday afternoon.

A former Paul Nicholls inmate, he turned in a superb round of jumping to defeat 6/4-favourite Pure Style and land a hefty price of 12/1.

Gordon was not surprised by the triumph – having got his charge in top condition for the showdown.

But he revealed the hurdle contest on day one of the West Sussex track’s Forces Festival was not in the original battle plan.

The Hampshire trainer intended to send Lightentertainment chasing this season.

However, the lack of rain in recent weeks has left him unable to school the 104-rated hurdler at home.

So Gordon decided to put the plan on the backburner and hand his charge a seasonal debut over the smaller obstacles.

And the sun shone on the talent and his connections as jockey Tom Cannon steered him to an impressive win.

But there are no prizes for guessing what is Gordon’s next target – weather permitting!

He said: ‘We will go chasing now – that’s the plan.

‘He has been jumping fences at home. I schooled him a lot last season but I have been struggling recently.

‘I would have gone straight into a chase but I haven’t been able to school him because the ground has been so quick at home.

‘We’ve been ticking along, though, and he is a winner, so everyone is happy.

‘We desperately need the rain to get a bit of schooling into him and then we will be off over fences. He has had a race now, though, so we won’t be running him again for a month. He is a nice horse.’

Lightentertainment had two races for eight-time champion trainer Paul Nicholls before switching to Gordon’s Morestead headquarters.

He finished fifth in a bumper before a disappointing seventh on his hurdles bow.

The Irish-bred gelding failed to land a blow in each of his first four starts for Gordon, either.

But his maiden trip to Fontwell in May saw him open his account off a mark of 97.

Despite a rise of 7lb for that win, he took his record at the West Sussex track to two from two on Friday.

Gordon is naturally pleased with his acquisition.

And he reckons the best is yet to come from the talent – who is owned by The Not Over Big Partnership – as he prepares for a career over fences.

‘Paul (Nicholls) phoned me up last year and said he wasn’t going to do them,’ added Gordon.

‘They are obviously looking for champions.

‘But he said he would do us a turn and he has done.

‘Friday’s win was off a low weight and he was pretty fit for the race but he was smashing.’