Apprentice rider Paul John caused a bit of a surprise in the opening Independent Racecourses Ltd Selling Hurdle over two miles, by beating legend Tony McCoy on Friday at Fakenham.
John held off McCoy – who is due to retire soon and was on almost certainly his final Fakenham appearance – on Staff Sergeant on his mount Dont Call Me Oscar to get home by three and a half lengths.
“It’s always nice to get one over the champ as he’s an absolute legend,” John said.
There was no bid for the winner at auction.
Nicky Henderson’s other runner at the meeting looks to be a real star in the making.
Medieval Chapel dominated the Andy Don Memorial Beginners Chase over three miles, coasting home alone under a classy ride from Nico de Boinville.
The Tim Barclay Memorial Chase over two miles and five furlongs went to the Lucy Wadham-trained Canuspotit under Leighton Aspell.
Always handily placed the 8 year-old took up the running over the final half mile and left the field way behind, romping to the line by 27 lengths.
Only four runners were entered for the William Bulwer-Long Memorial Novices Fox Hunters Chase over two miles and five furlongs but the race was keenly contested.
Market leaders Mister Teddy and Can Mestret set the pace and along the back straight for the final time both were still fighting it out.
Jockey Gina Andrews then pushed Can Mestret into the lead with her mount responding in style to pull away and settle the issue comfortably.
There was an upset in the last race of the day, the EBF Stallions Breeding Winners Mares Flat over two miles when 33 to 1 shot Unbuckled showed a clean pair of heels to her more fancied rivals.
Trevor Whelan was on board the Neil King-trained 5 year-old. The next meeting at Fakenham is on Friday, March 2, first race 2pm.
More on back page.