Captain connections are spoiled for choice

Captain Kirkton chalked up his second straight win over hurdles at Fontwell yesterday
Captain Kirkton chalked up his second straight win over hurdles at Fontwell yesterday
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Minellatillmorning won the Happy Birthday Sarah Cotty Handicap Hurdle. Picture: Fontwell Park

Balding celebrates Glory at Fontwell

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Doors are beginning to open for promising young hurdler Captain Kirkton as he heads for the sharp end of the jumping season.

The five-year-old gelding was victorious in yesterday’s EBF/Sam Mathers Competition Winner Novices’ Hurdle at Fontwell.

Trained by Lower Beeding’s Gary Moore, he was celebrating his second consecutive win over hurdles after finishing second in his sole bumper start in December.

The triumph automatically booked the son of Flemensfirth an entry in the Grade 3 EBF Final at Sandown on the course’s Imperial Cup card next month.

He also holds an entry in the Grade 1 Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham a week later, leaving connections an exciting choice of riches to pursue.

No doubt his camp will leave the decision until late, however, a trip to Sandown – avoiding the likes of stellar youngsters Bobs Worth and Rock On Ruby – may be preferred.

Yesterday, Captain Kirkton did everything asked of him to land the £2,016 purse at his home course.

He gave his jockey Jamie Moore a scare jumping last, though, when he dived at the hurdle.

And the 4/7-favourite’s nine-length success would surely have been greater had it not been for that sole mistake.

Captain Kirkton was completing a double on the card for Moore, after Whitby Jack won the opener – the Tiana Honey Watson Fund Juvenile Hurdle – at 4/1.

There was local success later on, too, as Royal Wedding won the Wellpool Building And Maintenance Services Handicap Chase at 10/1 for Findon’s Nick Gifford.

The Keith Williams 50th Birthday Handicap Chase went to 9/4-favourite Bertenbar, while the Ward-Thomas Master Removers Handicap Chase was won by Wide Receiver at 13/2.

Marodima was the 6/1 winner of the Elizabeth Armstrong Contemporary Equine Art Handicap Hurdle and the last race – a bumper – saw Queen’s Bay hold off double-seeking Spirit D’Armor to land odds of 4/1.