Fontwell Course Guide

Located in West Sussex, Fontwell Park stages National Hunt racing all year round but the highlight of its calendar is the Grade2 National Spirit Handicap Hurdle in late February. The contest is named after National Spirit, a dual winner of the Champion Hurdle in the 1940s, who won five times at Fontwell Park during his illustrious career.

The race was initially run over two miles and two furlongs as a Champion Hurdle Trial, with dual Champion Hurdle hero Comedy of Errors amongst previous winners. It is now run over two miles and four furlongs as a handicap and the David Pipe-trained Lough Derg won the race in both 2008 and 2009. The National Spirit is seen as a World Hurdle Trial and in 2006 My Way De Solzen became the first winner of the National Spirit to go onto win the World Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Star stayer Baracouda also won both races, albeit in different campaigns.


Left handed, sharp; the chase course is a figure of eight circuit, whilst the hurdles track is oval. The stiff finish is testing on heavy ground, races often developing from far out. The fences are easy but, given the nature of the track, course specialists abound. On the chase course, the lead rarely changes hands on the run in but often looks as though it might. The paddock exit is situated halfway up the run-in on the hurdles course and can lead to horses idling/ducking out on seeing it. On soft/heavy going the hurdles course favours those who race wide.

Having a figure-of-eight configuration on the chase track, Fontwell can suit quirky horses. I don’t know if that’s because it disorientates them, or simply keeps them interested, but it does seem to help a few ‘thinkers’. It puts a premium on jumping, too, and, if you’re on a novice that’s slick over the fences, you can get away from the others thanks to wasting little time in the air. If you are behind, though, but still within shouting distance of a faster one, the stiff finish gives you a chance to get back up.

View from the saddle: Mick Fitzgerald
Advance Going
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Current Weather

Forecast: Rain
Temp: 4.2° - 10.4°
Rainfall: 6.10mm
Wind: 21.5 mph S

Light showers

Forecast: Light showers
Temp: 0.1° - 9.0°
Rainfall: 1.26mm
Wind: 9.2 mph SW

Last Update: 20/01/2021 12:00

Replays & Results
13:00 Watch Off The Fence On Novices' Hurdle
GBB Race
2m 5½f | Class 4 | 4YO plus | 11 ran
  • Winner: Beauport 7/2 2Fav
  • Jockey: J Nailor Trainer: N A Twiston-Davies
  • Owner: Bryan & Philippa Burrough
13:30 'Off The Fence' On Handicap Hurdle
2m 1½f | Class 4 | 4YO plus | 11 ran
  • Winner: Gustavian 6/4 Fav
  • Jockey: Ben Godfrey Trainer: A J Honeyball
  • Owner: Decimus Racing I
14:00 Subscribe To attheraces On YouTube Novices' Chase
GBB Race
2m 3½f | Class 4 | 5YO plus | 4 ran
  • Winner: Umbrigado 1/2 Fav
  • Jockey: T Scudamore Trainer: D Pipe
  • Owner: John White & Anne Underhill
14:30 Visit Handicap Hurdle
2m 3f | Class 4 | 4YO plus | 8 ran
  • Winner: Lily The Pink 9/4 2Fav
  • Jockey: Ben Godfrey Trainer: A J Honeyball
  • Owner: Wessex Racing Club
15:00 Sky Sports Racing Sky 415 Mares' Novices' Hurdle
GBB Race
2m 1½f | Class 4 | 4YO plus | 9 ran
  • Winner: Allavina 11/8 Fav
  • Jockey: Aidan Coleman Trainer: Olly Murphy
  • Owner: Mr C Boultbee-brooks
15:30 Handicap Chase
3m 2f | Class 5 | 5YO plus | 12 ran
  • Winner: Ballybreen 5/1 JFav
  • Jockey: Conor Ring Trainer: Evan Williams
  • Owner: Mr R E R Williams
16:00 Sky Sports Racing HD Virgin 535 Maiden NH Flat Race
Conditionals And Amateurs
2m 1½f | Class 5 | 4YO to 6YO | 10 ran
  • Winner: Swincombe Fleat 7/2
  • Jockey: Ben Godfrey Trainer: A J Honeyball
  • Owner: Yeo Racing Partnership

Address & Contact

Fontwell Park Racecourse
West Sussex
BN18 0SX
01243 543335
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