Fakenham Racecourse's Christmas meeting lit up by double from claiming jockey
A superb double by claiming jockey Isabel Williams was the standout performance of the day at Fakenham’s Christmas meeting.
Riding for her father Evan, she produced two exceptional rides in the fourth and fifth races of the afternoon.
Her excellent double made the 500-mile round trip from the family’s Llancarfarn yard in Wales more than worthwhile.
Williams’ opening salvo came in the Norfolk Hospice Monopoly Board Games Hurdle over two miles, riding the three-year-old Olympic Honour.
Always up with the pace, the pairing got serious up the home straight to forge ahead of champion jockey Richard Johnson riding Highway To Success and hold on well to the line by one and a half lengths in a thrilling finish.
The double followed immediately on Agent Westy in the Fakenham 2020 Annual Members for Christmas Novices Chase over two miles and five furlongs.
In a tight encounter, Williams stalked long-time leader Zen Master, under Brendan Powell, before launching her attack around the home turn to open up a gap and win by four and a half lengths.
Richard Johnson rarely leaves Fakenham empty- handed and took his tally for the season to 96 winners when landing the Sky Sports Racing Chase, also over two miles and five furlongs.
Riding Encore Champs for Warren Greatrex there was little between the six runners on the soft going with Thomas Todd, under Ryan Day, towing the field round.
When he weakened there was only going to be one winner and that by the considerable margin of 17 lengths.
The opening Happy Christmas Mares Hurdle over two miles went to Miss Heritage, trained by Lucy Wadham at her Newmarket yard and ridden by Maxime Tissier.
There was a tussle with Molly Ollys Wishes as the two hurdled the last close together but in the end a length separated them.
Track favourite Todd, under Callum McKinnes, had to play second fiddle to favourite Perfect Moment, ridden by Tom O’Brien, in the British Racing School Foundation Hurdle over three miles.
The winner justified his odds-on price to wear down his weakening rival and dash home by 13 lengths.
In gathering gloom the final race of the afternoon, the Happy Christmas Maiden Hurdle over two miles and four furlongs, produced an exciting finish.
Ciaran Gethings was the most successful rider at Fakenham last season and stamped his class again with a bold showing on Young Offender, trained by Stuart Edmunds.
They led at the last but were hounded by favourite Strong Glance under Johnson before getting home by half a length.
The next meeting at Fakenham is on New Year’s Day.
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More by this authorGreg Plummer