The feature race of Fontwell’s season looks a tricky contest with the absence of any regular front runner. Plenty like to track the speed so it will be interesting to see who goes on, with most of these unlikely to want things to be tactical. Adrien Du Pont is a really interesting contender against his elders while Lil Rockerfeller is solid but this wouldn’t be the track to hit a flat spot on. The vote then goes to GRUMETI who would have gone close in a better race at Ascot last time but for a last flight blunder and for whom the drying ground is a big plus.
The ground is finally starting to dry out as we head into Spring with good to soft patches appearing in the going description. A shade under two and a half miles is the trip here, a sharp track in nature with an uphill climb for home, it requires a blend of speed and stamina.
1 Medinas (20/1) – A Long Distance Hurdle, Welsh Champion Hurdle and Coral Cup all shine brightly on Medinas’s C.V. A class act on his day, he didn’t run as badly as the ‘P’ on his form would suggest on his Sandown return. Giving weight all round looks tough but the outing may set him up for a return to the Coral Cup at the Cheltenham Festival.
2 Cheltenian (13/2) – Lightly raced for a ten year old, he may not get the fast pace to run at here that he ideally likes. He looked a non stayer on two previous attempts over this trip but those were before the hood was fitted. He did keep on well at Newbury last time indicating another go at this trip might now be in his favour.
3 Lil Rockerfeller (3/1) – A hard horse not to like, he is the epitome of guts and heart. Four runs this season have seen him take his form to a new level and with regular partner, Trevor Whelan, one of the best to ride Fontwell he has the right man in the plate. The one worry is that he tends to hit a flat spot in his races, not ideal if it happens running downhill final time in the back straight.
4 Anteros (50/1) – No stranger to being pitched in the deep end, this looks like another uphill struggle for the Sophie Leech trained gelding. He always tries hard but even his best is likely to fall some way short here.
5 Disputed (100/1) – Connections do well with runners at Fontwell but that is about the only positive for this runner who looks hopelessly outclassed.
6 Grumeti (6/1) – Incredibly for a Cesarewitch winner over 2m2f on the flat, Grumeti has done all his winning over shorter than that over jumps. He was in the process of running a huge race at Ascot when a last flight mistake ruined his chance and the drying ground looks a big plus. On that Ascot form he has an excellent chance and looks a great each way play.
7 Melodic Rendezvous (11/1) – A real class act in his pomp (rated 163) but it’s been some time since he showed form anywhere close to that level. This trip on a sharp track might suit but he has won just once in his last thirteen starts so a place may be the best he can hope for.
8 San Benedeto (10/1) – A keen goer who could end up being the pace angle to the race. He has progressed nicely through the handicap ranks this season but is firmly the yard’s second string and probably needs another jolt of improvement to win this.
9 Ubak (12/1) – Having not really taken to fences, the Gary Moore team bring him back to the smaller obstacles here. He was a very smart novice hurdler, winning at Aintree’s Grand National meeting before a 2nd at Punchestown. That was almost three years ago but the stable are entitled to plenty of respect and a market watch is strongly advised.
10 Adrien Du Pont (4/1) – Paul Nicholls sends his juvenile hurdler here rather than to Kempton on Saturday where he would have run against his own age group. The step up in trip looks a smart move for this powerful son of Califet and although he needs to improve again, Nicholls has made no secret of the regard in which this horse is held and with the four year old allowance is a fascinating contender.
Race Time: 3.20pm Meeting: Fontwell Day: Sunday 28th February 2016 Full Race Name: Totepool National Spirit Hurdle (Grade 2)
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