I am not 100% sure, but I would imagine that Micky has never had a runner at Fontwell racecourse before. On Sunday we send two runners down to the West Sussex venue, including our stable star Cornerstone Lad. This is Fontwell's biggest day of their year, with the running of the National Spirit Hurdle Grade 2, first run in 1971, and named after the dual Champion Hurdle winner of 1947, and 1948, National Spirit. This is one of the seasons most prestigious hurdle races, and previous winners include, Comedy of Errors, Kybo, Birds Nest, Beech Road, Baracouda, Classified, Lough Derg, and Celestial Halo.
Cornerstone Lad returns to hurdles after two satisfactory, but not stunning attempts over fences. He will take on five opponents at 3.10.pm, who are all also worthy of their place in this high class lineup. There is bound to be a strong pace, with every chance that Cornerstone Lad will be taken on for the lead, by the mare Molly Ollys Wishes, who gets 9lb from him, with that mare having made all last time out, there are also a couple of others who like to race prominently. This is the first time Cornerstone Lad has raced over as far as two miles and three furlongs, but he does get two miles on the flat, so should stay the trip.The sharp nature of the track will play to his strengths, and although the ground is drying out, it should be still sufficiently soft enough for him to do himself justice.
The lucky man on top is Billy Garritty who gets a rare chance as a conditional jockey, of being given a ride in a Grade 2 race, but of course Billy knows the horse very well, having won on him on four previous occasions.
Billy will also ride our other representative, High Noon in the 0-110 handicap chase over two miles and five furlongs at 2.10.pm.High Noon had a great first season with us last year, winning at Musselburgh in January, and then after being raised 10lb, was runner up on his next two starts.He would have surely gone on to more success, but he was beaten by the lock-down, and didn't reappear until December, when puling up at Market Rasen, in a race he would have needed.This race will put him spot on for the rest of the season.
To keep up to date with all the latest happenings at Oakwood Stables, and Sharp Hill, click on 'NEWS' at www.mickyhammondracing.
Good luck to the connections, Nick Pietrzyk And Partner, and Mrs B M Lofthouse.