Nico notches a Fakenham treble
A treble by top jockey Nico de Boinville highlighted a rare Saturday meeting at Fakenham.
Arranged with a few days notice after losing its popular Easter Monday event to the weather, the course welcomed a crowd of more than 2,000 through the gates with a blanket charge of just £10 giving access to all areas.
Riding for three different trainers, de Boinville got off the mark in the At The Races Hurdle over two miles and four furlongs on favourite Le Breuil trained by Ben Pauling.
Once the pairing took the lead from three out they were unchallenged up the home straight despite a good effort by runner-up Sir Mangan under Bridget Andrews.
A mistake by Maxime Tissier, who rode the finish on Iconic Sky a circuit too soon, resulted in the stewards giving him a 14-day suspension.
The double came up in the next race, the Racing Partnership Novices Chase over three miles, when odds-on favourite Step Back for trainer Mark Bradstock led from start to finish to coast home by 16 lengths from Sam Red, ridden by Harry Skelton.
His third winner provided the crowd with the most exciting finish of the day in the Little Snoring Open National Hunt Flat race over two miles.
This went down to the wire after a photo finish showed that de Boinville’s horse Before Midnight, trained by Nicky Henderson, had beaten Smackwater Jack under David England by a nose.
A milestone was reached in the opening Dunton Hurdle over two miles with trainer Dan Skelton saddling his 150th winner of the season after top weight Ashkoul stretched away in some style.
Given a patient ride by Norfolk-based claimer Fergus Gregory, the pairing took the lead from two out to hold on from Dinsdale, ridden by John Kington.
The Snellings Norfolk National Tuesday 8 th May Chase over two miles and five furlongs with just five runners produced a barnstorming finish.
The spoils looked to be between Ckalco Des Loges and Heresmynumber at the last but bottom weight Global Domination, cannily ridden by Sean Bowen, swept past both of them to get home.
Top trainers Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson went head-to-head in the Jarrold Ladies Raceday Hurdle over two miles, leaving the other runners in their wake as Act Of Valour ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies for Nichols wore down Pacific De Baune.
A spare ride for Daryl Jacob went in his favour in the David Keith Memorial Chase over two miles and five furlongs.
He got Templehills, trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, into a good rhythm tracking long-time leader Princeton Royale, pushing him into the lead at the last to win by one-and-a- half lengths.
The next meeting at Fakenham is on Tuesday, May 8 when the Snellings Norfolk National Chase will be staged.
At three-and-a-half miles and with prize money of £32,000, this is Fakenham’s longest and richest race of the season.