Robin swoops in for top prize after a 600-mile round trip.
Native Robin made a 600-mile round trip from Devon worthwhile when landing the £14,500 feature handicap chase at Fakenham’s fourth meeting of the season for trainer Jeremy Scott.
In-form Scott, with a 25 per cent success rate over the past three weeks, saw Nick Schofield give his eight-year-old gelding a fine ride, returned the 9/4 winner.
Native Robin was fourth on his seasonal return at Wincanton and went off the favourite in a competitive eight-runner contest.
“We left home at 2am. It’s a long, long journey but worth it now. He didn’t jump that well but was always travelling. He is consistent and a very likeable sort. I thought they went a bit quick early on and that they would come back to us and so it proved,” said Schofield, who held off bottom weight Wood Pigeon to score by half a length.
Six-year-old mare Bisoubisou won at Fakenham almost a year ago when trained by Olly Murphy and clearly likes the track as she scorched to victory in the opening handicap hurdle for trainer Sarah Humphrey.
Under Sean Bowen, the bottom weight in the field of nine kept to the inside throughout and took it up two flights out to score at 14/1 from Demon Fou and pacesetter and favourite Yeats Baby. It was the winner’s second outing for Mrs Humphrey, having been third at Huntingdon in September.
Norfolk-based rider Fergus Gregory delivered another Murphy trained winner when he got 8/11 favourite Skandiburg home in the North Creake novice hurdle.
“I’m very lucky to have Olly supporting me,” said Gregory, from Thompson near Watton, while Murphy replied: “He’s a big lad and has to look after his weight but he is very talented and has a terrific attitude to work. I think Skandiburg will be a real horse to follow next year.”
After running poorly in two bumpers, 20/1 shot San Seb made his hurdling debut a winning one when taking the Fakenham Juvenile Hurdle under Ciaran Gethings for trainer Stuart Edmunds. For Pleasure set a terrific pace before fading to leave the winner to score by 11 lengths from favourite Song for Someone.
The closest finish of the day saw By Rail get up in the final strides to beat Yourholidayisover in the Racing Welfare Chase. Pacesetter By Rail, trained by Nick Littmoden and ridden by Jack Quinlan, was headed by Yourholidayisover before the last fence but then idled in front and allowed By Rail, the top weight, returned at 7/1, to get back up on the line.
The finale, the three-mile Harpley Handicap Hurdle, saw Midnight Queen make every single yard to score at 9/2 under Alan Johns for trainer Tim Vaughan. The mare, winning for the third time this campaign, was never seriously challenged by her four rivals and romped home by nine lengths from favourite General Bux.
Words by Terry Redhead