Sam Twiston-Davies toasted a double on the first day of Fontwell’s October festival - and he had a fellow jockey to thank for the first half of it.
He was a replacement rider on board Marodima in the feature race, the £15,000 Fuller’s London Pride Handicap Steeple Chase, after initial pick Tom O’Brien was injured in a fall a day earlier.
Twiston-Davies phoned O’Brien for advice on how to ride the nine-year-old Jamie Snowden-trained runner - a 7/2 shot - and he interpreted it perfectly to lead from the front and notch a comfortable win over King Edmund by three and three-quarter lengths.
Twiston-Davies was first past the post again 35 minutes later as he guided 4/1 contender Mavalenta to victory in the SIS Live Handicap Hurdle. This time it was a two-length win over Trackmate.
That race was a third without success for Tony McCoy - but he is rarely one to let an afternoon go by without a win and he rode to an easy win in the last, the Southern Water Maiden Hurdle, on 2/1 favourite Rendl Beach, trained by Rebecca Curtis.
McCoy came in 24 lengths of Aidan Coleman on Winds of War.
Rendl Beach was one of three favourites to justify being market leaders.
The Paddy Power Juvenile Maiden Hurdle went to Marc Goldstein on 7/4 favourite Feb Thirtyfirst, trained by Lewes’ Sheena West.
Later Brendan Powell and trainer David Bridgwater teamed up to take the Astute Wealth Planning Ltd Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase with 7/5 favourite Double Chocolate.
Paul Nicholls’ string are in good early-season form and he would have been delighted by Daryl Jacob’s half-length win on 2/1 chance There’s No Panic in the Everyone’s Favourite ... The Ship Hotel Chichester Novices’ Chase.
Fontwell specialist Richard Johnson took the Ricochet New Album From Ocasan Handicap Hurdle on Philip Hobbs’ Tony Star (7/2).
Those results meant three wins for horses tipped by Observer sports editor Steve Bone, and two each for Fontwell executive director Phil Bell and Goodwood MD Adam Waterworth. Read the trio’s tips here and see more on this site for day two on Saturday morning.
Poor weather kept numbers perhaps a little below expectations but the forecast for Saturday is much better and a large crowd is expected for another seven-race card plus live music by From The Jam.