CHAMP-TO-BE HUGHES SET FOR EASTER HONOURS AT FAKENHAM
Champion jockey elect Brian Hughes, way ahead in this season’s title chase with 195 wins before the weekend’s racing got under way, looks to add to that tally at Fakenham’s Easter Monday seven-race meeting.
Hughes’ top ride looks to be on Restitution in the 2.10pm Cecil and Sheila Buttefant Memorial Handicap Hurdle. The gelded son of Frankel won impressively for trainer Alan King at the last Fakenham meeting and should double up.
The horse that followed him home that day was Toby Lawes’ Vocal Duke and he re-opposes 12lbs better off at the weights, under Kevin Brogan, while Lucy Wadham runs November course and distance winner Sorbet under 10-pound claimer Corey McGivern.
At 1.35pm Hughes rides King’s Forever William in the three-runner Bruce Towers and Son Heating Plumbing Juvenile Hurdle, the gelding likely to find the race easier than his last assignment in the Fred Winter at the Cheltenham Festival.
Wadham and McGivern have hurdling debutant Doublethetrouble while Moulins Clermont goes under Josh Moore, riding for his father, trainer Gary, the gelding also a Cheltenham Festival runner having won at Sandown in January.
Feature is the 3.20pm £30,000 David Keith Memorial Veterans Chase in which Hughes rides Kauto Riko for Tom Gretton.
Those with better looking chances include Some Chaos and Minella Encore. The former was third at Ascot after an earlier Carlisle success while the Dr Richard Newland trained Minella Encore was fourth at Ascot following a Ludlow victory.
Bermeo for Harry Fry, Brianstan for Venetia Williams and old favourite Potters Legend for Wadham and McGivern, also harbour winning hopes.
A quartet contest the opening 1pm Mama J 60th Birthday Chase over two miles with Theo Gillard on Don McCain’s Obey The Rules looking to go one better than his runner-up spot at Wincanton last week.
Gillard and McCain team up in the 2.45pm Aldiss Furnishing Stores Seniors Handicap Hurdle with Cousin Oscar, whose main rival looks to be Fakenham regulars, trainer Stuart Edmunds and jockey Ciaran Gethings, with Red Royalist.
Six go in the Queen’s Cup Open Hunter Chase at 3.55pm with Dan Skelton’s Not That Fuisse, under Tristan Durrell, favourite after his course and distance success last month.
The 4.30pm finale sees eight battle for the Fisher Electrical Contractors Mares’ Bumper with Charlie Todd on board one of the favourites, the Ian Williams trained Kimberley Eve, third at Southwell a month ago.