19th Dec 2017

Post Racing Report | CHRISTMAS MEETING

What a terrific day at Fakenham once again!

Creep Desbois dropped back in trip to land the feature, the At The Races Handicap Chase, at Fakenham under in-form jockey Daryl Jacob.

The Ben Pauling trained gelding was a creditable fifth at Ascot over three miles but the drop back to two miles five furlongs worked in his favour as he beat six rivals to land the £15,000 contest by a length.

“He had to dig deep but he’s jumped well. He’s a little bit raw but Ben has done a great job with him,” said Jacob.

The 6/5 favourite was always handy and ran on well to win from Popelys Gull in a race in which the two fences on the stands side of the course were omitted because of the low sun.

It was a case of entente cordiale in the opening mares’ novice hurdle, won by Banjo Girl, trained at Newmarket by Lucy Wadham and ridden by French rider Maxime Tissier.

The 27-year-old was having only his second ride in England, having won 14 times in France, and he led from start to finish on the five-year-old mare, which, returned at 2/1, held off champion jockey Richard Johnson on the favourite Dory.

“I have been in England for 16 months and I am learning the business and the language,” said the delighted winning jockey before wishing connections Joyeux Noel.

Well-backed Minella Gathering produced his best effort of the season to land the three-mile hurdle under Paddy Brennan for trainer Paul Henderson.

The 3/1 favourite was locked together with market rivals Pennywell and Scooby approaching the final flight and jumped ahead to score by two lengths.

Jack Quinlan was a replacement on Michael Wigham’s Gin and Tonic and the regular Fakenham visitor rewarded his rider with a victory at 9/2.

Cubswin challenged at the final flight but despite Trevor Whelan’s urgings, that filly couldn’t get there as Gin and Tonic showed his spirit in a close finish.

Peterborough’s Pam Sly won the novice chase for the second year running when Kielan Woods gave 4/5 favourite Morton’s Leam a fine ride to cruise home from Oakidoaki after main rival Mullaghboy fell before he could mount a challenge under Johnson.

The last race at the course in 2017 saw Johnson’s luck finally change when he got home on Olly Murphy’s Rio Quinto, returned at 7/1.


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David Hunter