Skeltons’ superb treble start at Fakenham races

Harry Skelton

Harry Skelton

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A treble from the Skelton brothers lit up a grey afternoon at Fakenham as racing returned to the track after the long summer break.

In front of a good crowd, trainer Dan and jockey Harry got off to the perfect start when they took the opening Fakenham Hurdle over two miles and four furlongs.

Favourite Throthethatch proved a willing partner and was always up with the pace before taking the lead over the final mile, pressing ahead to hold off the threat of Miami Present on the run-in by a length.

The double came in the third race of the day, the Helhoughton Chase over two miles and five furlongs on the odds-on favourite It’safreebee who led the field of five from start to finish.

The margin of victory was only just over a length thanks to a storming finish from Rolling Maul under Sean Bowen.

The Skeltons had to wait until the final race of the afternoon to achieve their treble in the Norfolk Novices Hurdle over two miles on their game 5 year-old Al Reesha.

She had played second fiddle to the Paul Nichols-trained Lou Vert over the first mile and a half but took over from two out and held on to win well by two and a quarter lengths.

Elsewhere on the six-race card, champion trainer Nichols also had plenty to celebrate with a double to his name, making the lengthy 240-mile journey from his yard in Somerset worthwhile.

Pilansberg ridden by Nick Schofield landed the IRL Ltd Hurdle over two miles and four furlongs after a ding-dong tussle with Nicky Henderson’s Barkis under Jeremiah McGrath. These two fought it out up the home straight with just a length separating them on the line.

Keltus ridden by Sean Bowen completed the double to take the October Chase over three miles by a tight half a length from long-time leader Princeton Royale under Trevor Whelan.

The Skelton/Nichols domination of the card was broken by trainer Alexandra Dunn and claiming jockey Robert Hawker riding Trapper Peak. They took the Lobo Steve Harris 60th Birthday Celebrations Selling Hurdle over two miles in some style.

Favourite Alyasan led the field of eight until running out of steam towards the home turn when Trapper Peak stepped up a gear along with the competitive Osgood who had to settle for a game second by three lengths from the winner.

The next meeting at Fakenham is on Wednesday, October 26 with the first race due off at 1.30pm.