Jockey Mark Grant endured an awful journey to Fakenham but despite arriving just 30 minutes before the start of the course’s richest and longest race of the season, managed to take the Snellings Norfolk National Chase on Emerald Rose.
“It was a bit touch and go as to whether or not I was going to get here. There were problems with traffic but thankfully I made it.
“She’s the best horse I’ve ridden; she stays well and jumps well,”
said the jockey, who had ridden the 11-year-old mare to win at the course in May 2016.
Returned at 14/1, Emerald Rose, trained by Julian Smith, who was unable to be at the track, made smooth progress through the field. At the last of the 22 fences she was joined by Washed Ashore who crashed out, leaving Emerald Rose to cruise home by 13 lengths.
Set List, trained by Dan Skelton, jumped jockey Richie McLernon who had been thrown from Washed Ashore, and ran on to finish second with top weight Court King third.
“I knew Richie was closing in at the last but you’ve got to jump them, Emerald Rose did and his mount didn’t, it’s as simple as that,”
said Grant, as he celebrated taking the £32,000 race worth almost £20,000 to the winner.
A tired Potters Hedger held on to take the Snellings Maiden Hurdle under Jack Sherwood for regular Fakenham winner, Newmarket-based trainer Lucy Wadham.
With a circuit to go the eventual winner broke clear with two rivals but when Don Des Fosses fell and Chimes of Dylan dropped away, 7/2 chance Potters Hedger was left 25 lengths clear. Approaching the final flight the gelding looked very tired but held on from favourite Hatchet Jack.
Potters Midnight failed to make it a Wadham and Sherwood double when beaten in the TBA Mares’ Hurdle which went to the impressive 5/2 shot Apache Song under Harry Bannister for trainer James Eustace, defying top weight to win in style from last year’s winner, Amron Kali.
Bottom weight Millen Dollar Man cruised home in the Jarrold Fakenham Ladies Day on June 3rd Chase under McLernon for trainer Alex Dunn who made the 500-mile round trip from the West Country worthwhile.
Runner-up in his last two starts, the nine-year-old gelding surged between two rivals as the trio approached the final fence. He produced an excellent leap to race away to score by seven lengths at 5/1.
If you are looking for consistency 12-year-old gelding Ascendant is the horse to follow. Under a drive from Patrick Cowley, Ascendant took the opening Snellings Selling Hurdle by almost a length, returned 5/6 favourite.
Ascendant was recording his third win at Fakenham this campaign and was notching his seventh victory from his last eight starts and 18th career success for trainer Johnny Farrelly.
The finale, the Turner Trophy Hunters’ Chase saw Strollawaynow charge through late on to win easily under Benedict Shaw for trainer David Arbuthnot, returned at 12/1, ahead of Can Mestret under Gina Andrews. Shaw is the head lad for Arbuthnot and was having just his second ride under rules.
Wors by Terry Redhead