There was a major shock in the four-runner novice hurdle when 1/6 favourite Fix Sun was beaten by 8/1 chance Fraternel at Fakenham. Trainer Nicky Henderson’s Fix Sun, under Daryl Jacobs, was bidding for a hat-trick but a disastrous error three flights out saw the five-year-old almost hit the deck. Jacobs was able to sit tight and get Fix Sun going again but Tom Cannon loomed upsides at the final flight on Fraternel and land the spoils for trainer Alan King.
King went on to complete a quick double when 13/8 shot Senior Citizen won the feature, the £16,000 Tim Barclay Memorial Chase, under Adrian Heskin.
A Doncaster runner-up on his previous outing, Senior Citizen crept through on the inside of the final bend to edge ahead of Rizzardo and sealed success with a super jump at the last of the 16 fences to score comfortably.
“He been very professional and won nicely. He will learn a lot from today,” said Heskin, before suggesting a trip to Ayr may be next on the gelding’s agenda.
Greaneteen was a hugely impressive winner of the three-runner novice chase to clock up champion trainer Paul Nicholls’ 73rd winner of the season.
The 2/5 favourite, under Harry Cobden, led from start to finish to record a hat-trick of chase victories and leave punters wondering where the gelding would head next.
Many feel he should go for the Arkle or one of the handicaps at the Cheltenham Festival next month while Cobden favoured the six-year-old aiming at Aintree in April.
Shantou Flyer was runner-up in the Foxhunters Chase at last year’s Cheltenham Festival and he could be heading there again next month after taking the William Bulwer-Long Memorial Chase under champion amateur rider David Maxwell. Trained by Rose Loxton, Shantou Flyer won easily, returned at 4/11.
Archie Watson is one of the up-and-coming flat trainers but he landed a jumps success when the outsider of the five-runner field Premier D’Troice took the Valentines Day novices hurdle at 9/1.
Well ridden by Brodie Hampson, the gelding, having his first run for the Newmarket handler, followed up his win in October at Punchestown when trained by Sean Doyle.
There was plenty of money around for the Kenny Johnson trained Cryogenics in the opener and the overnight 33/1 chance eventually took the selling hurdle, returned at 7/1.
Alison Clarke pushed Cryogenics to the front of the 10-runner field early on and the gelding, landing a first career win at the 18th attempt, scored ahead of By Rail and Flanagans Field.
“He’s only little but a second wind op seems to have done the trick,” said Johnson, before the winner was bought in for £6,800.
The finale proved another disappointment for Henderson with favourite Scarpia well beaten in the NH flat race by trainer Lucy Wadham’s debut-making grey filly Martello Sky, ridden by Eoin Walsh and returned at 4/1.
Words by Terry Redhead