Fakenham racing fans get money's worth on Cheltenham Gold Cup day
Fakenham racegoers got more than their money’s worth at the track on Cheltenham Gold Cup day.
Along with the six scheduled races on the card all the action from Prestbury Park was relayed on big screens for spectators to enjoy throughout the afternoon.
Jockey Jonathan Burke rode an outstanding double for trainers Alan King and Harry Fry, including the feature race of the day, the Country Food Trust Silver Cup Hurdle over two miles.
Twelve runners competed for the £20,000 prize money with little between them through the early stages.
Over the final half-mile long-time leader Movie Legend was tackled by Burke’s handily-placed Nebuchadnezzar up the home straight.
In a thrilling finish the pairing timed their run perfectly to win by a length.
This completed the double, following on from victory in the second race of the day, the Prince Carlton Chase.
The result of this demanding three-mile encounter was in doubt as the two market leaders battled it out together.
Top weight Echiquier, under James Bowen, was on terms with Burke’s mount Onefortheroadtom coming to the last, but the 5/4 favourite just got his head in front on the line.
Trainer Olly Murphy rarely leaves Fakenham without a winner and got off the mark in the opening R.W.B. Still Brushing At 86 Claiming Hurdle over two miles.
His six-year-old Swaffham Bulbeck, under apprentice rider Callum McKinnes, was always handily placed in the field of six, seeing off main rival Coole Well by three-and-a-half lengths.
The Robert Case Memorial Conditional Jockeys Hurdle, also over two miles, went to Medalla De Oro ridden by Jamie Neild.
In a tight finish they got the better of Sorbet by just under a length to continue trainer Harry Whittington’s run of success, having had a winner at Cheltenham the day before on Simply the Betts.
With the crowd still buzzing from watching the back-to-back success of Al Boum Photo in the Gold Cup the Walter Wales Memorial Hurdle over two miles and four furlongs got under way.
The field of ten held together in the opening exchanges until an enterprising move by Corri Lindo, ridden by Nathan Brennan, proved decisive.
They skipped clear of Present Chief with the winning post in sight to give trainer Henry Oliver a victory by two- and-a-half lengths.
A classy ride by Jack Andrews landed Full Irish with an exciting win to take the Robert Hoare Hunters Chase over three miles.
Biding his time when stalking Buck Dancing in the final stages he drove the nine-year-old to a half a length win in great style.
The annual West Norfolk point-to-point race day is scheduled for Saturday, March 21, with Easter Monday on April 13 for the next national hunt meeting.
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More by this authorGreg Plummer