17th Dec 2018

Christmas Meeting | DECLARATIONS

The Queen has an outstanding chance of taking the honours in Fakenham’s feature race tomorrow on a six-race card which champion jockey Richard Johnson and trainer Olly Murphy could dominate.

Trained by Charlie Longsdon and ridden by Jonathan Burke, Forth Bridge is yet to win a chase in seven attempts although he was third at Wincanton in November after having been fourth at Uttoxeter the previous month. He has four opponents in the 1.50pm feature, the Sky Sports Handicap Chase over 21 furlongs worth almost £17,000.

Favourite will be the Andrew Martin trained Militarian, a winner at Taunton at the end of November while Enjoy Responsibly, under seven-pound claimer Harrison Beswick for trainer Oliver Sherwood has a leading chance too. The gelding was third at Hereford after a break, having previously won over course and distance in Norfolk in March.

Johnson and Murphy could be the ones to follow. In the 12.50pm opening mares’ novice hurdle they have It’s O Kay, a Leicester winner last time, and she probably only has to worry about Sula Island under Wayne Hutchinson for Alan King in the seven-runner contest.

The 1.20pm sees Johnson and Murphy with Todd, previously third and second at Fakenham although Little Millie for Neil King and Master of Finance for Lucy Wadham are worthy handicap hurdle rivals.

After the feature, six go in the 2.20pm handicap hurdle with Johnson and Murphy on The Very Thing, a Wetherby runner-up after finishing third at Fakenham in October. Martin Keighley’s Primogeniture looks the main threat while Wymondham-based trainer Caroline Fry has Norfolk-based Fergus Gregory on board Schap, appearing for the first time since May.

The following 2.50pm novice chase sees the Johnson and Murphy combination with So Sorry Sarah although possible favourite is Thomas Todd, a Musselburgh winner trained by Laura Morgan and ridden by Ryan Day.

A quartet go in the finale, the 3.20pm maiden hurdle and Murphy legs up Noel Fehily on French import Doncesar De Pretot, having a first run for the trainer since leaving Pierre Chemin in France and since a subsequent wind operation. Kilbrew Boy under Kielan Woods for Ben Case looks the main rival having been sixth in a 17-runner contest at Warwick at the end of last month.

Words by Terry Redhead.

Selections: 12.50pm It’s O Kay; 1.20pm Todd; 1.50pm Enjoy Responsibly; 2.20pm The Very Thing; 2.50pm So Sorry Sarah; 3.20pm Kilbrew Boy.



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David Hunter