National Hunt Racing
Jockeys Gina Andrews and Peter Carberry enjoyed a cracking start to the New Year with two wins apiece in front of a packed holiday crowd in excess of 4,000 at Fakenham on Saturday.
Carberry landed an amazing double on two unfancied outsiders who started at prices of 50/1 and 16/1.
It was fairytale stuff. He kicked off in the Fakenham Racecourse Annual Members Hurdle over two miles riding the Des Donovan-trained Dalaki. Ignored by the vast majority of punters, this five-year-old skipped clear of odds-on favourite Alberta from two out and never looked back, winning by an astonishing 18 lengths.
“We were just looking for a good run and hoping for the best,” said Carberry in the winner’s enclosure. “He obviously loved the soft ground and travelled really well.”
There was more of the same in the final race of the afternoon, the Happy New Year Hurdle over three miles. Encouraged by his earlier success, Carberry pushed his mount Izbushka straight into the lead and dictated the pace every yard of the way. There was no stopping the lively five-year-old who was never headed and got home easily by nine lengths from favourite Very Intense.
Gina Andrews is no stranger to the Fakenham track and made her ride on favourite Bold Bachelor look easy to take the Fakenham Amateur Riders Chase over two miles and four furlongs. Always up with the pace the pairing took control from two out and stretched away from only challenger Johns Luck to coast home easing down by a comfortable 13 lengths.
The double was achieved in the feature race, the Dave Harrison Memorial Hurdle over two miles and four furlongs on the Pam Sly-trained Actinpieces. This was a runaway win which looked certain with a mile to go, having seen off any semblance of competition. Establishing a massive lead, Actinpieces trotted up by 28 lengths.
Hot favourite Cotillion confirmed the win he achieved at Leicester just four days earlier by dominating the Cool Roxy Bar for Private Functions Selling Hurdle over two miles and four furlongs. Jockey Rob McCarth had little more than a steering job to secure the victory over Trapper Peak by a commanding 19 lengths. There was no bid for the winner at auction.
Drama surrounded the Independent Racecourses Ltd Novices Chase over two miles and five furlongs. Seven horses set off in earnest but only two made it to the finish as the remainder either fell or were pulled up. At least there was a real tussle up the home straight by the survivors which had the crowd cheering them all the way.
In the end Global Domination, driven out by Adam Pogson, just got the better of outsider Spartilla, under Mattie Batchelor, by half a length.
The next meeting at Fakenham is just a week away on January 12, first race due off at 1.20pm.