Fontwell may be treated to Champion visit

Barry Geraghty celebrates winning the Champion Hurdle in 2009
Barry Geraghty celebrates winning the Champion Hurdle in 2009
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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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Fontwell are preparing themselves for the visit of a champion.

Punjabi is entered in the chancelloroftheformchecker Club Members Handicap Hurdle on Sunday (2.55pm).

The son of Kumaite won the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in 2009, having finished third behind Katchit 12 months earlier.

He beat superstars such as Celestial Halo, Binocular, Harchibald and Brave Inca that day.

But after missing two entire National Hunt seasons between 2010 and 2012, Punjabi has dropped 38lb in the handicap.

Now aged 11 and running off a mark of 128 for David Pipe, having left former trainer Nicky Henderson in October, the three-time Grade 1 winner is back on the course.

And he may be gunning for glory at Fontwell on Sunday.

Final declarations for the seven-race card, which has attracted 144 entries, will be made on Friday.

West Sussex trainers Gary Moore, Nick Gifford, Michael Madgwick and Richard Rowe have all pencilled in runners at the meeting, which begins at 1.20pm.

Ticket details are available on 01243 543335 or at

n Seedling will bid for success in the Maiden Hurdle at Southwell this afternoon (3.25pm).

The five-year-old son of Cockney Rebel claimed an impressive bumper win at Fontwell in October.

But he has failed to hit the mark in two starts over hurdles since – finishing a narrow second to Wilde Blue Yonder at Newbury last time out.

n Gary Moore has put a French raid on ice after Sire De Grugy coasted to glory in the Grade 1 Clarence House Chase at 5/4.

The Lower Beeding handler will now send his stable star to the Cheltenham Festival to contest the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

n Cole Harden won the Betfred Double Delight Novices’ Hurdle at Newbury.

The Fontwell hurdle winner has lost once in five starts.