Jockey Nico de Boinville jumped off champion trainer Nicky Henderson’s impressive winner Pistol Whipped and immediately announced he couldn’t wait until his horse went over the larger obstacles.
Pistol Whipped, returned the 13/8 favourite, took the novice hurdle at sun-blessed Fakenham in some style and left his rider confident about his future.
“He’s a classy jumper and I can’t wait to go chasing with him next year. This was probably not his track and not his ground but he has won and that’s fantastic for his owners. There is so much more to come,” said de Boinville.
Bryony Frost added the Fakenham faithful to her growing band of supporters with a peach of a ride on Brelan D’As to win the Lycetts Novice Chase.
Wearing the famous J P McManus colours, Frost settled the 8/11 favourite into a nice rhythm before taking it up with more than a mile to travel.
The Paul Nicholls trained eight-year-old maintained a small lead from then on and ran out a comfortable winner from Delire D’Estruval.
“This is a tough track for novices and when I asked him a question he was good. The drying ground is a bit tacky but he’s done it well. It’s a long way to come to Fakenham and we don’t have a great record here so it’s lovely to have won,” said Bryony.
Feature race, the Tim Barclay Memorial Chase went to Kayf Blanco for trainer Graeme McPherson and jockey Kielan Woods. The 10-year-old was always handy and made the most of a gap near the rails two furlongs out to win at 3/1.
“I didn’t want to get to the front too soon but had to go when the gap appeared. He’s jumped well and travelled well so I can’t complain,” said Woods.
The Lycetts Handicap Hurdle produced a thrilling finish with Uno Mas, under James Bowen for trainer Christian Williams, getting the better of fast-finishing Shaman Du Berlais.
The eventually runner-up found no way through on the final bend and that enabled Uno Mas to pull far enough ahead to be able to hold on, returned at 5/2.
Generous Jack got the day off to a thrilling start when taking the Ashwicken Selling Hurdle by a neck under Daryl Jacob. The 10-year-old, trained by Suzi Best, was always up with the pace despite finding Fakenham’s sharp bends difficult to handle early on.
The last time out Plumpton winner took it up two out and held off a strong challenge from the well-backed Queen Adelaide to score by a neck, returned at 15/8. The winner was bought in the ring by Thursford-based Keith Loads for £4,000.
Only three went in the William Bulwer-Long Hunter Chase in which 1/2 favourite Risk A Fine, under James King for trainer Gareth Moore, easily beat his two rivals.
The closing bumper went to the Venetia Williams trained Penny Mallow, under Gavin Sheehan, who at 7/1 held off favourite Trailboss by a neck.
Words Terry Redhead