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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Forecast: Moderate showers
Temperature: 9.4° - 17.7°
Rainfall: 2.68cm
Wind: 7.8 mph W

Last Update: 19/05/2019 17:00x

Upcoming races
Replays & Results
17:00 Denmans Graden New Ducklings Mares' Open Hunters' Chase
(Class 6) (3m 1f 210y)
  • Winner: Follow The Paint 11/10 Fav
  • Jockey: Miss T Worsley Trainer: Miss L Horsfall
  • Owner: Mr Steven Astaire
17:30 Peter Mendoza Memorial 'Placepot Pete' Ladies' Open Hunters' Chase
(Class 6) (2m 5f 135y)
  • Winner: Witness In Court 5/1
  • Jockey: Miss G Andrews Trainer: D McCain Jnr
  • Owner: Mr T G Leslie
18:05 WI Centenary Celebration Novices' Hunters' Chase
(Class 6) (3m 1f 210y)
  • Winner: Kit Barry 4/9 Fav
  • Jockey: Mr Charlie Dando Trainer: David Dando
  • Owner: Mr David Dando
18:40 'Brave The Shave' Breast Cancer Fundraiser Grassroots Hunters' Chase
(Class 6) (2m 5f 135y)
  • Winner: Monsieur Gibraltar 1/4 Fav
  • Jockey: Mr D Maxwell Trainer: Mrs Loxton
  • Owner: David Maxwell Racing Limited
19:15 United Hunts Champion Open Hunters' Chase
(Class 6) (3m 3f 149y)
  • Winner: Southfield Vic 2/11 Fav
  • Jockey: Miss Natalie Parker Trainer: P F Nicholls
  • Owner: Mrs Angela Yeoman
19:50 Henry Carr's 25th Birthday Maiden Hunters' Chase
(Class 6) (2m 5f 135y)
  • Winner: Earth Leader 11/10 Fav
  • Jockey: Mr B Carver Trainer: Mrs Loxton
  • Owner: Mr R M Penny
20:25 PPRC Open Hunters' Chase
(Class 6) (2m 1f 165y)
  • Winner: Tusa Eire 12/1
  • Jockey: T Doggrell Trainer: N B Thomson
  • Owner: Mr N B Thomson

Address & Contact

Fontwell Park Racecourse
West Sussex
BN18 0SX
01243 543335
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