It was a case of Bonne Annee as French jockey Maxime Tissier took the feature race at Fakenham’s New Year’s Day meeting on grey gelding Artifice Sivola for Newmarket trainer Lucy Wadham.
Artifice Sivola won the North Norfolk Handicap Hurdle on New Year’s Day last year and repeated the feat under Tissier, winning by 37 lengths.
Tissier was enjoying his second win in England, having won at the last Fakenham meeting. He made every yard on Artifice Sivola as rivals fell by the wayside. Mamoo hit a couple of flights hard while Mariah’s Legend fell at the second last to leave Artifice Sivola, 5/2 joint favourite, to enjoy the cheers from the packed stand.
“They tried to take him on early but my horse was very good. He ran very well,” said the winning rider.
After winning the race a year ago, Artifice Sivola went chasing, finishing second three times from five starts.
“That should have boosted his confidence and we will go chasing again. I might run him in the Classic Chase at Warwick on Saturday week,” said a delighted Wadham.
Veteran gelding Ascendant was the first Fakenham winner of 2018 when he landed the Daisy Mason Selling Hurdle under Patrick Cowley for trainer Johnny Farrelly.
Returned at 15/8, Ascendant had won three times earlier this season and comfortably held off bottom weight Ulysses after taking it up half a mile out.
More Than Luck took the three-mile hurdle under David England for trainer Olly Murphy. Favourite Minella Gathering veered into his rival after jumping the last and lost momentum, leaving More Than Luck to score by a neck at 11/4.
Jack Andrews took the Amateur Riders’ Chase on Neil King’s Little Windmill. When Touch Screen unseated at the second of 16 fences, it left Money for Nothing clear. But Andrew pushed 8/1 chance Little Windmill through the field and a good jump at the last ensured a two-length success, beating last year’s winner Wish In A Well.
The second chase was a match in which Mullaghboy, at 7/4, completed a double for Murphy when, under Charlie Poste, he beat favourite Norse Light.
Murphy had three of the seven runners in the finale but the race went to The Linksman, ridden by Jonathan England and trained by his wife Sam, who made every yard to triumph at 15/8.
Words by Terry Redhead
NEXT MEETING: January Meeting, Monday 22nd January 2018
FIRST RACE TIME: 1.25PM
LAST RACE TIME: 3.55PM
GATES OPEN: 11.00AM