Decent crowd for Greene King Raceday

Despite small fields and overcast skies, a fair crowd turned out for Greene King Raceday at Fakenham on Tuesday.

Unlike earlier in the season, bad weather failed to interrupt the afternoon’s activity. The opening Fillies Hurdle over two miles witnessed a return to form for Virginia Lodge from the Dan Skelton yard, ridden by claiming jockey Fergus Gillard.

Always up with the pace, the pairing took a firm hold over the final half-mile to sweep past favourite Circle Of Hope and go on to win by 11 lengths from Francina under Jonathan Burke.

Crowds at a previous Fakenham race day
Crowds at a previous Fakenham race day

Just four runners took part in the Conditional Jockeys Chase over three miles. Favourite and long-time leader Guguss Collonges ridden by Lilly Pinchin was unable to sustain his lead when challenged up the home straight by Call Of The Loon under Ellis Collier who won by just under a length.

The Greene King Novices Hurdle, also over three miles, went to For Gina ridden by Bryony Frost for trainer Lucy Wadham who has a good record at the track. Bottom weight Redbridge Rosie set a fast pace and built up a big lead but weakened to give way to the eventual winner by five lengths.

The Weatherbys Hamilton Chase over two miles and five furlongs was a close-run affair with plenty in the hunt for honours. Despite a poor jump at the last, My Gift To You, ridden by Lilly Pinchin, had plenty left and sustained her run-in to win by four and a half lengths from Jacks Touch.

Former champion jockey Brian Hughes was well placed in the Greene King Mares Hurdle over two miles, riding On Cloud Nine, but ran out of steam up the home straight and had no answer to the storming finish of Ip Up under Craig Nichol. They won by 18 lengths, the biggest margin of the day.

Templier, the mount of James Best, got the better of two more fancied rivals to take the Weatherbys Stallions Chase over two miles, pulling away from the field of five.

Only three runners took part in the final event of the day, a National Hunt Flat Race, also over two miles. This went to odds-on favourite Tramuntana, ridden by Fergus Gregory for trainer Olly Murphy. They stormed to the winning line with neither of the other runners able to challenge.

The Christmas Raceday at Fakenham is scheduled for Tuesday, December 19, first race due off at 12.10pm.