16th Feb 2024


Harry Cobden took over top spot in the race for the 2023/4 jump jockeys’ championship with a double at Fakenham on Friday.

Cobden drew level with Sean Bowen on 123 winners in the race for this season’s championship with victory on 8/13 favourite Westerninthepark in the EBF Novice Hurdle.

Previous course and distance winner West Warhorse led the quartet over the first two miles but as soon as Cobden asked the question, the Anthony Charlton trained market leader responded to score by four lengths.

“He was very relaxed and raced behind the bridle all the way. But he jumped well and quickened up nicely,” said Cobden. His arch-rival Bowen was not in action on the day and Cobden joked he hoped Sean was: “Enjoying a spa day somewhere!”

Cobden then had to wait until the last of the seven races on the card to get Farland home in the bumper to take over top spot in the rankings.

Cobden seemed squeezed for room on Farland but as soon as he asked the Paul Nicholls trained gelding to produce, he did just that and won at 4/9.

Caoilin Quinn completed a double when the Gary Moore trained grey, Invincible Nao took the feature, the Tim Barclay Memorial Chase.

The 7/5 favourite was always in front and never looked like being beaten. “He got into a lovely rhythm. I didn’t want him to over-race. I was confident he would stay. We have always thought he was decent and hopefully he will progress from this,” said Quinn.

Mi Sueno never saw another rival when taking the opening Payne Crop Nutrition Selling Hurdle under Quinn’s positive ride for trainer Paddy Butler.

The 4/1 chance jumped well and finished clear by 13 lengths from Triple Nickle to give Butler his first success since November 2022.

Newmarket trainer Lucy Wadham is always worth following at Fakenham and her mare For Gina repeated her November course and distance success by taking the Payne Crop Nutrition Handicap Hurdle at 4/1 under Alex Chadwick, finishing clear of favourite Hermes Le Gris.

There was a dramatic opening to the Payne Crop Nutrition Novice Chase when favourite One Last Glance went left when landing after the first fence and was unable to get back on course, crashing into the plastic railings.

When Dream Jet was then pulled up, it left three contenders with Go Fox well clear. However, the 17/2 outsider of the field, Elpologreg, tracked the leader and jumped ahead at the final fence to win by six lengths under Micheal (CORRECT) Nolan for trainer Seamus Mullins.

The William Bulwer Long Memorial Hunters’ Chase went to Secret Investor who was handed the race when Gina Andrews took a crashing final fence fall from Tigerbythetail. Trained by Nicholls and ridden by Natalie Parker, who survived a first fence blunder, the winner was returned at 5/6.


By Terry Redhead.

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David Hunter