2nd Jun 2024


Jockey Harry Skelton is a man with a winning habit. After a hat-trick of victories at Stratford the previous evening, the former champion jockey was at Fakenham for the course’s 2023/24 season finale, Sunday’s Jarrold Ladies’ Day, and bagged another treble.

It means that Skelton has ridden eight winners from his last 10 rides and is the clear early leader in the jump jockeys’ championship race.

Likeable mare Chatty Chich had previously been second at Fakenham before winning at Huntingdon. Returning to Norfolk she scored again under Skelton.

Sent off 8/13 favourite and trained by Harry’s brother Dan, the mare got the better of Mountain Bay in the US Airforce Bloody Hundredth Novice Hurdle.

The jockey was full of praise for her. “She is very likeable. Fakenham doesn’t suit every horse, but she did her job and kept her winning run going,” he said.

Half an hour later Skelton made it a double when taking the 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards Prince of Wales Cup Chase on 10/3 favourite Omaha Wish.

Ferrybridge went for home around the final bend but Skelton produced his mare perfectly and with a super jump at the last, raced on, earning trainer brother Dan the Fakenham Double Up Bonus.

“Omaha Wish is a strong travelling mare and her good jump at the last sealed it,” said Skelton.

The £20,000 feature, The D-Day 80th Anniversary Chase, saw Skelton complete the hat-trick with a super ride on 100/30 chance Riskintheground, who followed up a Hereford success just nine days earlier.

There was drama when Way Out parted company with Beau Morgan at the fence in front of the stands and that mishap left bottom-weight Time To Bite clear. But Skelton wore down that horse’s advantage and went on to score by five lengths.

Conditional rider Ciaran O’Shea had his first career winner on the James Owen trained King Otis at Fakenham in May and the jockey collected further success on the gelding when landing the Jarrold Hurdle. The 5/4 favourite hunted down long-time leader Max of Stars to score.

The finish of the opening Music in Country Churches Norfolk Concerts Maiden Hurdle was a thriller before Pleasant Man was declared the winner. Ridden by Tom Bellamy, the six-year-old returned after a break to beat A Day to Dream to give trainer Jack Jones an 11/8 winner.

The closing Fakenham Next Racing Friday 18th October Female Jockeys’ Hurdle produced a shock 22/1 win for Fine By Her. A previous course winner for trainer Julian Smith, the mare gave rider Jessica Milly Smith her debut success under rules, beating favourite Star Legend and Nickelforce.

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David Hunter