Double treat for Fakenham horse racing fans

Fakenham racegoers flocked to the track on Cheltenham’s Gold Cup day to enjoy a seven-race card with every Cheltenham race beamed onto big screens from Prestbury Park.

With a programme containing all the runners and riders at both venues and plenty of bookies doubling up on taking bets, there was virtually non-stop action throughout the afternoon.

Top jockey Aidan Coleman had just one ride for trainer Charlie Longsdon in the fixture’s feature race, the Country Food Trust Silver Cup Hurdle over two miles, with prize money in excess of £10,000.

Fakenham Races Bryony Frost. (63093269)
Fakenham Races Bryony Frost. (63093269)

Coleman made it count on the yard’s seven-year-old Parramount, who took control with a mile to go, stretching into a big lead and never being threatened. On his own up the home straight, the margin of victory over Swaffham Bulbeck was 13 lengths.

Trainer Olly Murphy has a good record at Fakenham and maintained it by winning the opening Country Food Trust Hurdle, also over two miles.

With claiming jockey Daire Davis on board Weebill, the pairing kept pace with the leading group before producing a good turn of foot at the last to win by just over a length from favourite Al Zaraqaan.

The combination of trainer Lucy Wadham, based in Newmarket, and jockey Bryony Frost has also been highly successful at the track.

Over a demanding three miles, they won the GB Driveways Surfacing Norfolk and Suffolk Chase on Brandisova, holding off Mixedwave under Paul O’Brien by four lengths.

The Robert Case Memorial Hurdle over two miles was won by the highly-fancied Nothingtochance, a sister to the impressive Edwardstone.

Under Tom Bellamy for trainer Alan King he was thought to be ‘the one to beat’ and did so in style by six lengths in a convincing front-running performance ahead of Lucid Dreams.

Only four runners turned out for the Lighting Limited Building the Paddocks Cheveley Chase over a testing three miles five furlongs on soft going.

So testing that two of them pulled up with a mile to go, leaving evens favourite Le Tueur ridden by Jay Tidball to fight out the finish and get the better of Vetoncall under Jamie Brace.

With the crowd then transfixed by the Cheltenham Gold Cup, won by favourite Galopin Des Champs under Irish champion jockey Paul Townend for trainer Willie Mullins, the final two races went ahead on schedule.

The Walter Wales Memorial Hurdle over two miles and four furlongs brought the best out of favourite Bashers Reflection, ridden by Jack Quinlan, who held off the persistent Celine Man under Paul O’Brien by close to three lengths.

Another favourite, Bennys King, signed off the afternoon with a smart win under Miss Heidi Palin over Sir Jack Yeats, ridden by Miss Fern O’Brien, to take the Robert Hoare Memorial Hunters’ Chase over three miles.

The winner took advantage of two fallers, Zee Man and Rebel Dawn Rising, to dominate the final mile in some style.

The next meeting at Fakenham will be the Aldiss Easter Monday raceday on April 10.