Horse racing fans make their presence felt at Fakenham's final meeting of the season
There may have less than a thousand spectators at Fakenham but they certainly made their presence felt throughout a thrilling afternoon.
Invited members and guests made the most of the final race meeting before the summer shutdown as, with open doors at last, the sport slowly began the process of returning to normality.
The opening Novices Hurdle over a tough three miles produced the third win in a fortnight for top weight Tommie Beau trained by Seamus Mullins and ridden by Michael Nolan.
Always handily placed, the favourite vied with Say Nothing throughout the contest but would not be denied from the last in a tight finish by one and a half lengths.
Best ride of the day came from Nick Scholfield on Joey Steel to take the Ist The Queen’s Dragoon Guards Chase for the Prince of Wales Cup, also over three miles.
Riding for Christian Williams the jockey played a waiting game towards the back of the 10-strong field prior to making a decisive move rounding the home turn.
Threading through to the front, Joey Steel had plenty of speed in his legs to pull away from second-placed Etat Major Aulmes by three lengths.
The Jarrold Chase over two miles and five furlongs went to Thomas Todd ridden by Adam Wedge for L J Morgan.
Despite a poor jump at the last he just held on by a length to win excitingly from the closing Diligent under a strong drive from David Noonan.
The Aylsham Show Female Jockeys Hurdle over two miles and four furlongs went to Top Beak ridden by Bryony Frost.
Having already won at Fakenham this season for trainer Max Young, the pairing came good again despite carrying top weight.
They confidently beat Mawlood under Tabitha Worsley by four lengths.
The Fakenham Racecourse Claiming Hurdle over two miles looked to be a shoe-in for Storm Rising in a field of just four runners.
Sent off at the prohibitive odds of 1/8 on, he did win from the front under a strong ride from Charlie Hammond but it was no easy stroll.
Pestered by The Three Wizards under claimer Fergus Gregory for much of the way, the race was always competitive though finally in no doubt by a six lengths margin.
Favourite Castel Gandolfo was a four-length winner of the two-mile Fakenham Racecourse Caravan and Camping Site Maiden Hurdle, with Paddy Brennan in the saddle for trainer Fergal O’Brien.
They were given a good workout by second-placed Dynamite Kentucky but proved worthy winners by four lengths.
The day closed with a sprightly run from Roar under David Bass for Ed de Giles in the Camping Holidays at Fakenham Racecourse Hurdle, also over two miles.
Favourite Begin The Luck was never a threat and the winner at the good price of 7/1 dominated the closing stages.