Top trainer Henderson wins at Fakenham again

Alan Johns and winning connections with his mount Ballyrock
Alan Johns and winning connections with his mount Ballyrock

A combination of fine weather, good going and the Easter Monday holiday attracted a terrific crowd to Fakenham races to enjoy an exciting seven-race card.

Trainer Tim Vaughan and claiming jockey Alan Johns were quickly off the mark in the opening Jarrold Ladies Day Fakenham Sunday 4th June Selling Hurdle on favourite Ballyrock.

The pairing were a class apart over the two miles and four furlongs, getting home by 17 lengths from outsider Changing The Guard in great style.

There was no bid for the winner at auction.

The same alliance made the 500-mile round trip from their Welsh yard even more worthwhile by landing the third race on the card, the Cecil and Sheila Buttifant Memorial Hurdle over two miles.

This was a much more competitive affair with Johns having to work hard on the run in to get Glimpse Of Gold to the line by a neck from the fast-finishing outsider Bulletproof under Jeremiah McGrath.

A big slice of luck helped Joe Hill, riding warm favourite Pride Of Parish for his father Alan, to claim the Robert Hoare Hunters Chase over two miles and five furlongs.

The race had been dominated by Are They Your Own who had towed the field round under a confident ride from Ali Stirling and looked all set to land the spoils before crashing out at the final fence.

Joint favourite Join The Clan under top jockey Aidan Coleman took advantage of a series of jumping errors by long-time leader Ardmayle under Gavin Sheehan to take the David Keith Memorial Chase over three miles. They held off only pursuer Open Hearted by eight lengths.

Sam Davies-Thomas was never headed on Master Workman to land the Bentley Cambridge Eastern Counties Chase for the Queen’s Cup, also over three miles.

Favourite Amigo was left seven lengths behind at the finish.

The Sworders Hurdle, another three mile challenge,seemed to be going the way of Byron Blue under Aidan Coleman until he ran out of steam half a mile from the finish.

Phare Isle in the hands of Max Kendrick took full advantage to claim his second win at the track, just edging Boher Lad by a neck.

Her Majesty the Queen’s horse, Sunshade, climaxed the afternoon with a super win in the Snellings Norfolk National 9th May Mares Flat race over two miles.

Leading trainer Nicky Henderson had won this race four times over the past nine years and the result this time was never in doubt once jockey Jeremiah McGrath burst clear of the pack up the home straight to canter home by six lengths from favourite Rose Tree.

The next meeting at Fakenham is on Tuesday May 9, first race due off at 2.10pm.