RETIRING DAI MAKES A GOOD IMPRESSION IN THE FAKENHAM SUNSHINE
Legendary Welsh trainer Dai Burchell saddled what will probably be the final winner of a 40-year training career when Good Impression landed the opener at Fakenham on Monday.
Burchell, from Ebbw Vale, was on the road for almost four and a half hours to reach a sunny Fakenham and saw Good Impression score cosily under Ben Jones, returned at 4/1 in the novices’ handicap hurdle.
Burchell, who will be 85 in February when he officially retires, was delighted by the success.
“Possibly my last winner I suppose. But he’s got a good attitude and may run again at Uttoxeter … who knows!” he said.
Burchell has trained around 450 winners during his illustrious career, having been honoured with a lifetime achievement award in the sport in 2018.
The £12,500 Hellesdon Leather and Cloth Furniture Company Chase went to jockey Jack Quinlan, fresh from his victory on Saturday in the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton.
Quinlan won on 85/40 chance Somekindofstar for Newmarket trainer Lucy Wadham. The gelding continued Wadham’s fantastic strike rate at Fakenham, beating Doukarov after a great display of jumping.
“He’s a cracking little horse who jumps like he’s on springs,” said Quinlan.
There was a tremendous finish to the second novices’ hurdle when the Dr Richard Newland trained Thirtyfourstitches got back up in the final strides to win at 9/4.
Having set the pace, Thirtyfourstitches slipped behind Sure Touch and William Cody. But Tom Bellamy got a terrific late burst from the gelding who squeezed home on the inside to take victory by half a length.
Trainer Fergal O’Brien moved nearer a century of winners for the season when 13/8 favourite Ajay’s Way took the novices’ chase under Kielan Wood. It was a 97th success for O’Brien with the bottom weight getting through late on to beat Dubai Guest.
Stuart Edmunds has his Newport Pagnall yard in form and 3/1 chance Midnight Mary landed the three-mile handicap hurdle.
“She’s done well really. She’s a bit of a madam. I got to the front a little early but thankfully she saw it out,” said winning rider Ciaran Gethings, whose mount scored from 50/1 outsider Ratoute Yutty, trained at Wymondham by Caroline Fryer.
The closing mares’ bumper saw Wadham complete yet another Fakenham double when newcomer Mistral Nell scored under Bryony Frost at 11/4, beating favourite Bounce Back by five lengths.