4th Mar 2019

Christian’s grey shades it on a dramatic day at Fakenham

Talented teenage jockey James Bowen got home in the final strides on grey gelding Fifty Shades, to win the three-mile Fakenham Supports Racing to School Handicap Chase during a dramatic day at Fakenham.

Bowen was riding the Christian Williams trained six-year-old, turned out quickly after finishing second at Catterick last week.

Midnight Bliss for Wymondham trainer Caroline Fryer set the early pace but was overtaken by Sackett. He looked a winner until Bowen delivered Fifty Shades perfectly to score by half at length at 11/4.

“He’s finished strong and jumped well at the last and landed running. It’s another good win for Christian whose horses are in great form,” said Bowen.

The race was run after a delay of 45 minutes following a medical emergency which saw a racegoer taken to hospital by air ambulance. During the race amateur jockey Ben Brackenbury suffered a hefty fall from Tinker Time and received lengthy treatment on the track before being taken to hospital with a suspected fractured sternum and broken ribs.

The feature race, the Fakenham Skips Handicap Hurdle was a thriller and went to Canyon City under a superb ride from Bryony Frost. The 9/5 chance was third at the last flight but a great leap saw Frost switch the gelding to the outside where he got the better of long-time leader Kilbrew Boy and eventual runner-up Uno Mas.

“I told Bryony to stick to the inner so I got that wrong! It was a great ride and a good race. My horses are in cracking form at the moment,” said victorious trainer Neil King.

Leighton Aspell, fresh from a Saturday big race double, continued his hot streak in the opening Barnham Church of England School Maiden Hurdle when hurdling debutant Arch My Boy easily accounted for eight rivals. The Martin Smith trained five-year-old took it up two out to score by nine lengths from pacesetter Zanzi Win, returned the 11/8 favourite.

Tom Scudamore took the honours in the S V Harvey Mares’ Handicap Hurdle when he delivered Molliana to win for trainer Neil Mulholland. The 7/2 chance produced a good leap at the last flight and raced away to score from former Fakenham winner Bisoubisou.

And Scudamore and Mulholland later completed a double when Niblawi lowered the colours of favourite Raising the Bar to take the finale, returned at 7/4. It was a great effort by the trainer, with Niblawi returning to action for the first time in nine months.

The day’s second chase, the Shereford Handicap Chase, went to the Sarah Humphreys trained mare, Stonebrigg Legend under Charlie Deutsch. Always travelling well, she passed favourite Primal Focus and the two-stone weight difference told in favour of the 13/8 chance who won by more than three lengths.

Words by Terry Redhead

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David Hunter