Jockey Nico de Boinville strikes as Fakenham racecourse's seven-race card attracts bumper card
A seven-race card and the backing of brewers Greene King attracted a big crowd to Fakenham for its second race meeting of the season.
With the track in perfect condition and good prize money on offer, 52 runners were entered from far and wide.
The first four races were all over two miles.
Hot favourite Falco Blitz, ridden by Nico de Boinville for Nicky Henderson, got the day off to a good start by winning the Foulsham Primary School Maiden Hurdle by a decisive six lengths.
Having placed second in his previous three races, the determined five-year-old went straight into the lead and was never challenged.
The Greene King IPA Hurdle brought out the best in Welland under Paul O’Brien, trained at her Peterborough yard by Pam Sly.
Always up with the pace he tracked long-time leader Two Blondes before making his move at the last to swoop home by just over a length.
A very tight photo finish decided the Breeders’ Cup Fillies’ Juvenile Hurdle.
Favourite Midnights Gift, ridden by Tom Cannon, holding off the fast-finishing Break The Rules, under champion jockey Richard Johnson.
The Greene King IPA Novices Chase went to odds-on favourite Nube Negra, ridden by Harry Skelton for his brother Dan.
With a superb round of jumping the pair led from first to last, scattering the field by 10 lengths.
Regarding Ruth, under Maxime Tissier for Newmarket trainer Lucy Wadham, took control of the Greene King IPA Hurdle over three miles.
Wadham’s charge led from the final back straight with the mare pulling ahead from her rivals.
She stretched her lead on the run-in to beat Todd, ridden by Callum McKinnes, by five lengths.
The David Hall Has Finally Retired Chase over two miles and five furlongs went to bottom weight Thomas Todd, enterprisingly ridden by Ryan Day.
The pairing led all the way to win by three lengths from Twasn’t The Plan.
The biggest field of the afternoon with eleven runners produced a surprise 16/1 winner in the Hempton Open National Hunt Flat Race over two miles.
Litigate, under Gavin Sheehan, fought out the finish with Johnson’s mount Presence Of Mind to prevail by half a length.
The next meeting at Fakenham is Weatherbys Raceday on Tuesday, November 19.
Jockey Nico de Boinville with his horse Falco Blitz and connections at Fakenham on Wednesday, top right and Tom Cannon with trainer Pam Sly and Welland, winner of the second race on the seven-race card, bottom right.