Bumper crowd see Fakenham’s biggest entry for a decade
Massive support for the Greene King race day at Fakenham attracted a bumper midweek crowd to the track along with entries from far and wide, including four from Ireland.
The seven-race card featured the highest number of runners at the course for 11 years.
Jockey Harry Skelton carried on from where he left off at the last meeting two weeks before by taking the opening Pudding Norton Maiden Hurdle over two miles on Free Range, trained by his brother Dan.
Always handily placed the pairing saw off main rivals Atlantic Grey and favourite Royal Ruby to romp home by five lengths.
There was a surprise winner of the Greene King IPA Hurdle, also over two miles, from the in-form stable of Neil King. In a packing field coming to the last, the spoils looked to be shared between the trio of Hallingham, Alexander The Grey and Cashanova.
But Dizzey Heights, patiently ridden by Trevor Whelan, was waiting in the wings and stormed through to dash ahead by two-and-a-half lengths at odds of 20/1.
Whelan soon notched a double on the day by taking the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Hurdle on Cubswin, making its debut over hurdles and also trained by King.
Adopting similar tactics as in the previous race by allowing others to tow the field along, the winner took the lead up the home straight and despite tiring held on by just under a length from Hallingham.
The feature race of the afternoon, the Greene King IPA Chase over two miles, attracted a strong field of nine for a share of the £12,000 prize money.
Artifice Sivola was well fancied, having won at the track three times previously over hurdles, but he fell when in contention along the back straight.
Deuville Dancer had enjoyed a fine round of jumping under Brian Hughes and when he swept into the lead only Baby Jake, ridden by Rachael Blackmore, was able to go with him.
Keeping on well up the straight the pursuit was in vain to the tune of three lengths.
A spare ride for Sam Twiston-Davies turned out to be a winning one in the Injured Jockeys Fund Hurdle over three miles.
His mount The Way You Dance, trained by Neil Mulholland, revelled in the conditions as others felt the pace.
Turning for home in the lead the pairing pushed on to leave second-placed Moidore trailing by five lengths.
The biggest win of the day went to Enjoy Responsibly, given a very positive ride by claimer Harrison Beswick in the Tapping House Hospice Chase over two miles and five furlongs.
Little Windmill, under Trevor Whelan, held the lead for much of the way but once Beswick took over down the back straight there was no stopping Enjoy Responsibly who dashed to the line by a commanding 15 lengths.
The Oxwick National Hunt Flat Race over two miles, went to Kaloci ridden by Ciaran Gethings. Warm favourite Myplaceatmidnight was a disappointment to his many followers, not even managing a place.
The winner got home from Ballinslea Bridge by a length.
The next meeting at Fakenham is on Tuesday, November 21.
Photos: Paul Marsh