Fontwell relieved as end of ban for equine flu proves timely

Bosses at Fontwell aim to make the most of a timely lifting of the ban on British horse racing this afternoon (Thursday).

By Steve Bone
Thursday, 14th February 2019, 8:40 am
Updated Monday, 18th February 2019, 10:16 am
Action at Fontwell is in prospect on Thursday afternoon / Picture by Malcolm Wells
Action at Fontwell is in prospect on Thursday afternoon / Picture by Malcolm Wells

All race meetings between last Thursday and yesterday (Wednesday) were called off after an outbreak of the highly contagious equine flu.

But it now looks to have been contained and late on Monday night, the British Horseracing Authority ruled the sport could resume.

That was just in time for Plumpton, who had a fixture yesterday, and Fontwell, who had feared they would have to call off today’s action.

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With a fine and sunny afternoon forecast, they are hopeful of a good-sized crowd.

A Fontwell Park Racecourse spokesman said: “We are very much looking forward to racing at Fontwell Park.

“Obviously it has been a difficult time for the whole racing industry, and while we didn’t lose any fixtures here at Fontwell, we have done plenty of work, as led by BHA, to undertake a thorough deep clean and disinfection of all of the equine areas of the racecourse.

“We’re grateful to customers for their understanding with regards the run-up to the fixture.”

Gates open at midday and and racing starts at 2.05pm.

The opener at 2.05pm is the Handicap Hurdle while the racing ends with the Call Stars Sports On 08000 521321 Intermediate National Hunt Flat Race at 4.50pm.

There are 43 entries across the six races, with a field of 13 for the opening race the biggest of the afternoon, in which Silver Quay and Goodgirlteresa are bidding for market favouritism.

Christopher Wood and Westbrook Bertie hold plenty of interest in the Happy Birthday Valerie Woods Juvenile Hurdle at 2.35pm while the Trafalgar Boy Ready To Run For Hotsr Handicap Chase at 3.10 could well see Le Coeur Net go off favourite.

The Lucky Laura Mares' Novices' Hurdle at 3.45 could see Bullfrog, Dame du Soir or Deja Vue prevail in a field of eight while the last two contests - the Goodwin Racing Call 08000 421 321 Handicap Chase and the Call Star Sports On 08000 521321 Intermediate NH Flat Race for conditionals and amateurs each have five in the mix.

Our tips: 2.05 Silver Quay, 2.35 Christopher Wood, 3.10 Le Capricieux, 3.45 Dame Du Soir, 4.20 Sartorial Elegance, 4.50 Avorisk Et Perils.