Fakenham trip is worthwhile for champion jockey Richard Johnson
Champion jockey Richard Johnson made his first visit of the season to Fakenham more than worth the trip with two wins from his only two rides, extending his lead in the current jockeys title race.
He kicked off in the Weatherbys Bank Foreign Exchange Mares Chase over three miles by guiding Kayfleur, trained by Henry Daly, to a convincing victory.
Only four horses contested the race but there was no lack of competition as Maid Of Milan, under 16-year-old James Bowen, led the way in confident style until falling at the second fence from home.
Kayfleur took full advantage to breeze up the straight and cross the line nine lengths ahead of the only other finisher, Armedandbeautiful.
The double was completed on Saucysioux with plenty to spare in the FTC And Sales Mares Hurdle over the same distance. Favourite Broadway Belle led for much of the way but had little left from two out when the Olly Murphy-trained seven-year-old swept by her.
She got home by 21 lengths, the biggest margin of the day.
It was disappointing that the feature race of the afternoon, the Weatherbys Racing Bank Beginners Chase over three miles, attracted only three runners.
Champion trainer Paul Nichols had sent out Red Hanrahan under Harry Cobden and they went off as favourites.
Their main rival, Holbrook Park, ridden by Trevor Whelan, immediately went into the lead to show their intentions.
Despite 239 days off the track, the seven-year-old showed plenty of stamina and would not be passed, holding on well to win by three lengths.
The opening Racing Partnership Selling Hurdle over two-miles-and-four-furlongs was also reduced to just three runners.
It was a triumph for the oldest horse, Occasionally Yours, stepping out at the age of 13 years to beat off his younger rivals by two lengths.
His trainer Alan Blackmore, aged 89, is renowned at Fakenham as the owner of Cool Roxy who won no fewer than 11 races at the track in his heyday.
He and his wife Patricia accepted the presentations in the winners’ enclosure, in the presence of children from Colkirk Primary School just outside Fakenham.
The East Rudham Amateur Riders Hurdle over two miles was fought out by the four runners in a bunched field.
There was little to choose between three of them coming to the last, but a storming finish by Lewis Stones on his mount Mullaghboy did the trick by two lengths.
It was the first of trainer Olly Murphy’s double at the meeting.
Favourite Movie Legend took the spoils in the last race, the Weatherbys Racing Bank Chase over two miles.
Ridden by Leighton Aspell for trainer Lucy Wadham, the eventual winner was almost caught by the persistent Bach De Clermont under Adam Wedge. There was less than a length between them on the line.
The next meeting at Fakenham is on Monday December 4.