Helium aims to fly high

Jockey Liam Treadwell on Helium
Jockey Liam Treadwell on Helium
Minellatillmorning won the Happy Birthday Sarah Cotty Handicap Hurdle. Picture: Fontwell Park

Balding celebrates Glory at Fontwell

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Helium will bid to record his maiden triumph over fences at Fontwell this afternoon.

But the six-year-old son of Dream Well will have his work cut out.

Trained by Nick Gifford at nearby Findon, the gelding has raced five times over the larger obstacles.

He produced creditable efforts in defeat to Barizan and Pullyourfingerout over the summer.

But while the former 141-rated hurdler would often have the quality to dominate a novice chase at his local course, he faces a powerful rival at the track this afternoon.

Champion trainer Paul Nicholls has entered new recruit Doeslessthanme in the Fastener Network Ltd Novices’ Chase (2pm) – the opening contest of the seven-race card.

The dual bumper winner recorded three hurdle victories before his disgraced trainer Howard Johnson was hit with a four-year welfare ban and retired from the sport.

Doeslessthanme set up a new home at Ditcheat this summer and, although he has not seen a racecourse for more than 11 months, he is odds-on to make a winning start for his new boss.

Anthony Honeyball’s Jackie’s Solitaire heads the young cast in the Bob McMasters Birthday Juvenile Hurdle (2.30pm).

After three handicaps, Timmy Murphy’s mount American Spin is expected to go off favourite in the Wellesley Wealth Advisory Novices’ Hurdle (4.30pm).

And racing closes with a glimpse of the future, as 14 unraced horses make debuts in the bumper (5pm).