Norfolk National thriller at Fakenham

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The feature race of the day at Fakenham, the Norfolk National, served up a treat with more than its share of drama over the demanding three miles and five furlongs.Seven runners went to post after the withdrawal of Court Master with just four managing to get home over the 22 fences.Even so, the finish had plenty of excitement.Claiming jockey Dylan Whelan, riding Trincomalee for Newmarket trainer Lucy Wadham, took command up the home straight, just ahead of favourite Planned Paradise under champion jockey Harry Cobden who already ridden a couple of winners.Urging his mount from the final fence, Whelan held off his more experienced rival to take the prize in a storming finale. Cobden’s double came in the second and fourth races of the day.Riding SeeYouInMyDreams for Paul Nichols in the Maiden Hurdle over two miles and four furlongs, the pairing raced into a big lead from the outset and were never challenged. Way ahead up the final straight, the margin of victory was announced as 25 lengths over 50-1 outsider Little Talks under claimer Ms Laura Ward.The margin was tighter in the Ladies Day 2nd June Hurdle over the same distance as favourite, Soir De Gala, also trained by Nicholls, got the better of Jolyjump under Whelan by four lengths. The opening Racing TV Selling Hurdle over two miles went to King Otis ridden by claimer Ciaran O’Shea for Newmarket-trained James Owen.Approaching the last in a race for the lead, the winner was helped by a poor jump from Nevendon under Nick Schofield which scuppered his chances of victory. There was no bid for the winner at auction. The tightest finish of the meeting came in the Greene King Chase over two miles and five furlongs as Kankin under Bryan Carver beat Noah’s Light ridden by Lewis Stones by a neck.They were together at the last and it took a photo to separate them. Just three runners turned out for the last race of the afternoon, the Jumping For Fun Grassroots’ Hunters’ Chase for the Turner Trophy over three miles.When Court Cian fell after two miles, the field was left open to Precious Bounty ridden by Miss Ellie Callwood and favourite Trevada under Mr Zac Baker. At the sharp end, the favourite prevailed by a wide margin. Racecourse chief executive David Hunter paid tribute during the meeting to the retirement of Dr Piers Reinhold after 47 years of service on Fakenham race days.He praised his high professional standards and the concern and care he always displayed when required to assist.The final meeting at the track this season is Jarrolds Ladies Day on Sunday, June 2, with the first race due off at 2.05pm.

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