Trainer Murphy continues his Fakenham love affair
Trainer Olly Murphy’s love affair with Fakenham continued in style as he brought his tally at the track this season to a remarkable 12 winners.
He saddled no less than four first past the post on the six-race card at Monday’s meeting.
It was no surprise to hear him describe his success as a ‘great day, a magic day’.
The heavy going seemed to suit all his runners with champion jockey Richard Johnson taking full advantage with a Murphy double in his relentless pursuit of a second successive crown.
He opened his account on Hurricane Rita to take the Fakenham Junior School Hurdle over two miles from outsider Karl Marx.
Tucked midfield for much of the race the pairing faced a tussle on the run-in with four in contention at the last.
Sticking to the inside, Hurricane Rita jumped it boldly and held on well to win by a length.
The second was achieved on Wood Pigeon in the ROA/RacingPost Owners Jackpot Chase over two miles and four furlongs.
There were three fallers in this race and the only danger to the winner came from top weight Achill Road Boy under Sam Coltherd.
Their challenge faded up the home straight, enabling Wood Pigeon to cruise home alone.
Norfolk-based claiming jockey Fergus Gregory also had plenty to smile about with his own double success on two Murphy-trained horses to complete the foursome.
The first came in the Racing To School Inspiring Young Minds Hurdle over three miles when he drove 20/1 outsider Piri Massini home to just pip odds-on favourite Rio Quinto, under Johnson, by half-a- length.
He followed this up in the final race of the afternoon on bottom weight Bisoubisou to take the Longham Conditional Jockeys Hurdle over two miles and four furlongs, also by half- a-length from Flow With Eve, ridden by Ciaran Gethings.
Theyoungest jockey on parade, 16-year-old James Bowen, showed his growing maturity with a fine win on Holly Bush Henry in the Wendling Chase over three miles.
All six horses were in with a chance over the final mile but once Bowen took the lead from two out he was able to hold off the challenge of Morney Wing, ridden by Paddy Brennan, to join the group of half-a-length winners on the day.
A more comfortable victory went to Potters Midnight under Leighton Aspell in the Racing PartnershipMaiden Hurdle over two miles.
Controlling the race from the front with a mile to go the winner stretched away from Dolphin Vista under Aidan Coleman to cross the line five lengths to the good.
The next meeting at Fakenham is on Wednesday, February 7.