Nube Negra looked a potential star chaser to follow after taking the feature Greene King IPA Novices Chase very impressively at Fakenham. The five-year-old gelding, ridden by Harry Skelton for brother Dan, produced an immaculate display, winning at 2/5.
“That was really good. It’s a tight and difficult track for novices and he’s done the job well. He will have learned a lot,” said Skelton, his mount making it two chases out of two after winning a month ago at Warwick.
“We looked after him over hurdles and gave him an extra year but he is a real chaser. Chasing is definitely his game,” said Skelton, adding that Sandown’s Henry VIII Novice Chase could be Nube Negra’s next target.
The gelding was never troubled in the two-miler and won from Encore Champs who snatched second on the line, 10 lengths adrift.
Peterborough-based trainer Pam Sly loves Fakenham and she won the Greene King IPA Hurdle with Welland, at 7/1. Ridden by Paul O’Brien, Welland, owned and trained by Sly, is a gelding who has been ‘difficult to train.’
“He’s always going lame. He’s been to the vets many times and they can’t seem to sort it. But that was nice and he could win again,” said Sly, who in 10 days goes into hospital for her fifth hip operation.
“I shall be able to watch the replay on my Ipad while I recover. I love it at Fakenham, the prize money is so good,” she added. Welland moved through the pack half a mile out and jumped clear at the final flight to score.
Trainer Alan King introduced grey filly Midnight’s Gift to hurdling and the three-year-old obliged to beat another newcomer, Break The Rules, in a tight finish.
Tom Cannon had Midnight’s Gift handy and hit the front entering the home straight. Champion jockey Richard Johnson looked a danger on Break The Rules but the 6/5 favourite held on by a short head.
Nicky Henderson’s odds on favourite Falco Blitz had an easy victory in the opening Foulsham Primary School Maiden Hurdle, ending a run of three second-places.
Nico de Boinville pushed the 4/5 chance off in front for the two-mile trip and despite a mistake at the hurdle in front of the stands, never saw a rival in a six-length success.
Newmarket trainer Lucy Wadham has a great strike rate at the north Norfolk track and her Regarding Ruth was a comfortable winner of the three-mile Greene King Handicap Hurdle under Maxime Tissier. The mare raced clear over the final half mile and, returned at 9/2, won by five lengths.
The day’s second chase, the David Hall Has Finally Retired Chase, was an all-the-way three-mile success for Ryan Day on the Laura Morgan trained Thomas Todd. The 9/2 chance jumped well to win from Twasn’t The Plan.
The finale, the bumper, saw Gavin Sheehan notch his 40th win of the season in getting home on Paul Webber’s Litigate, returned at 16/1, beating Presence of Mind.
Words by Terry Redhead.