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Sport - Horseracing: Fakenham races are the main attraction

Attractive prize money on Betfair Grassroots Raceday at Fakenham drew top trainers and riders from across the country to the track.

The only other National Hunt meeting of the day was at Musselburgh, which left Fakenham as the main attraction.

Feature race of the afternoon, the Betfair Commits £40m to British Racing Chase over two miles and five furlongs, went to favourite Cross of Honour, ridden by Richard Johnson for the successful Charlie Longsdon stable.

Top weight Frontier Spirit looked to have the race in the bag when jumping the last but Johnson timed his finish to perfection, to score by half a length.

The opening Betfair Funds the PJA Doctor Hurdle over two miles and four furlongs went to odds-on favourite Ericht, providing a 62nd birthday present for top trainer Nicky Henderson.

Claiming jockey Gary Derwin always had the six-year-old handily placed and from two out held the lead all the way home.

A very open looking Betfair Sponsors the Stable Canteen Hurdle over two miles produced the shock of the day when bottom weight Shilpa under Gerard Tumelty defied 33-1 odds to provide trainer Simon Earle with an unlikely victory.

The race card suggested the horse had plenty to prove and should be treated with caution.

Young claiming jockey Paul O’Brien achieved his first win with an excellent ride on the Charlie Mann trained Who Owns Me in the Betfair Boosts Prize Money at Fakenham Hurdle over three miles.

Always handily placed the pairing were joined by favourite Lieutenant Millar at the last but had enough left to hold on by half a length.

Savant Bleu, under a canny ride, from Nick Scholfield won the Betfair Don’t Settle for Less Beginners’ Chase, also over three miles.

Arbeo led from the off but had no answer to the winner’s finishing burst from the last which took him to the post four lengths ahead.

Punters looking to make amends on the final race were disappointed with the performance of odds-on favourite Terre du Vent who faded badly. Mischievous Milly, under Leighton Aspell, scattered the big field to win going away by 21 lengths.

The next meeting at Fakenham is on New Year’s Day, with the first race due off at 12.25pm.

 

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