Bumper crowd sees trainer Alan King strike at Fakenham meeting
Good prize money attracted leading trainers to Fakenham for its second race meeting of the season, with the crowd also boosted by the half-term holiday.
Sponsored by Greene King, the opening Brian Bush Is 60 Maiden Hurdle over two miles looked to be a straight fight between market leaders Grandeur D’Ame, trained by Alan King, and Hermes Bellevue from the yard of champion trainer Paul Nicholls.
Whilst both were in contention with half a mile to go, the outcome was sealed when Hermes Bellevue unseated his jockey Harry Cobden along the back straight.
Gavin Sheehan on Grandeur D’Ame took full advantage to lead round the home turn and coast home by 20 lengths from Nine Nine Nine.
The combination of trainer Nicky Henderson and jockey Nico de Boinville proved decisive in the Mares Novices Chase over two miles and five furlongs.
Heading the betting, Barbados Blue, who was no superstar over the smaller obstacles, went straight into the lead and held it throughout, despite the attentions of Precious Eleanor, under Tom O’Brien, in the final stages. The pairing won by five lengths.
In the Fillies Juvenile Hurdle over two miles, warm favourite Aliomaana, ridden by Mitchell Bastyan, tracked the leaders through to the final half mile.
Taking control at the head of affairs, he looked to be the likely winner until challenged by 12/1 shot Malakahna, under Charlie Todd, towards the home straight.
Their effort was decisive with a strong finish beating the runner-up by eight lengths.
Only three runners contested the feature race of the afternoon, the Greene King IPA Novices Chase, also over two miles.
There was little between them but Paddys Motorbike, ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies for trainer Sam Thomas, showed the most aggression and would not be denied.
He won by a convincing 11 lengths from Atholl Street under Harry Cobden.
A patient ride by Kevin Brogan on favourite Vocal Duke for Toby Lawes led to triumph in the Greene King IPA Hurdle. Handily placed throughout, they got the better of Vision Clear, ridden by Jamie Moore for his father Gary Moore, by a comfortable six lengths.
A three mile Novices Chase concluded an exciting day’s racing with a competitive field of eight runners.
Top weight Tommie Beau continued his exceptional form by making it four wins on the trot for trainer Seamus Mullins.
Joining the leading bunch Tommy Beau relished the challenge and having taken the lead was driven to stay there by Kevin Jones for a stirring win by five lengths from Macfin, under Sam Twiston-Davies.
The next meeting at Fakenham is Weatherbys Race Day next month on Tuesday, November 16.