By Jim Harding
An outstanding double from Brodie Hampson highlighted a cork-popping afternoon at Fakenham with the track celebrating its third annual Ladies Day meeting in style.
A huge crowd packed into the course which marked the occasion with presentations to the best dressed lady, best dressed couple and best hat.
Claiming jockey Hampson joined the party with a superb win on Fort George in the 1st Queen’s Dragoon Guards Chase over three miles.
The pairing seemed booked for second place entering the home straight with champion jockey Richard Johnson having taken the lead on the fancied Lawless Island.
But the 13 year-old came back for more, pushed out by his rider to get the 17/2 shot home by two lengths in a stirring finish.
There was more to come for the talented Hampson in the final race of the day, the Aylsham Show Lady Amateur Riders’ Hurdle over two miles.
On board warm favourite Lee Side Lady she kept her mount nicely placed throughout before taking the lead and holding off challenger Debt To Society to win by one and a half lengths.
The opening Active Fakenham Week Hurdle over three miles went to Thyne For Gold ridden by Will Kennedy in an incident-packed race.
Outsider Tomsk stretched the field with early pace before favourite Little Windmill fell after two miles. When Tomsk faded, Kennedy took over with Heresmynumber in hot pursuit. His crashing fall at the last left the winner free by a comfortable 28 lengths.
Feature race the Fakenham Ladies Day Chase over two miles and five furlongs was reduced to just five runners and a battle royal between three of them.
Coming to the last fence Mercers Court ridden by Trevor Whelan and favourite Bon Chic under Harry Skelton were neck and neck but on the run in Whelan’s mount had more in the tank to win by a length. This was the Neil King-trained gelding’s third victory in a row.
Sam Twiston-Davies made his only ride of the afternoon count when he steered second favourite Hassle to victory in the James Beck Auctions & Thomas Cook Maiden Hurdle over two miles.
Favourite Princess Roania under Sean Bowen kept him close company but weakened at the sharp end with the winner four and a half lengths to the good.
There was more drama in the Royal Norfolk Show Chase, also over two miles, with the favourite Herons Heir falling with just a mile completed.
Tom Scudamore, hoping for a win on his 34th birthday, drove his mount Willem into the lead, chased by Salto Chisco under Leighton Aspell.
Together at the last, Aspell triumphed by half a length.
Fakenham now enters its summer break with racing resuming on October 14.
Jockey Will Kennedy with Thyne For Gold, winner of the opening Active Fakenham Week Hurdle.
MLNT-24-05-16 sport race