Tag Archives: Post Racing Report

Green And Gold Winning Habit Spreads To Fakenham As Burke Bags A Double

The green and gold hoops of owner JP McManus swept the board at the Cheltenham Festival and also scored at Fakenham when grey gelding Onefortheroadtom made it a winning debut at the track for trainer Harry Fry.


Winning jockey Jonathan Burke sat quietly throughout the three-mile Prince Carlton Chase but took his chance to squeeze through on the inside of market rival Echiquier on the final bend. After the two jumped the last together, Burke was able to drive his mount home.


The 5/4 favourite was winning his third race over fences. “I could see Echiquier was jumping to his right and took my chance. My horse is progressing and I think he will be even better on a more conventional track,” said Burke.

Burke went on to complete a double when he won the Country Food Trust £20,000 Fakenham Silver Cup on 10/1 shot Nebuchadnezzar for trainer Alan King.

Nebuchadnezzarwon the Silver Cup Race for trainer Alan King.


Favourite Homer proved disappointing and rounding the final bend with one flight to jump, rivals were lining up but pacesetting Nebuchadnezzar found more to win his first hurdle race at the eighth attempt.

“He changed gear two out and they couldn’t get to him. He will be even better over fences,” said Burke.

Medalla De Oro looked a useful newcomer to hurdling when, at 2/1, he won the Robert Case Memorial Hurdle over two miles under conditional jockey James Neild for trainer Harry Whittington.


Medalla De Oro under jockey James Neild for trainer Harry Whittington.


A Chester flat winner in July, the gelding led from the start and clinched success with a good leap at the final flight to beat favourite Sorbet.

Corri Lindo quickened away after the last to land the Walter Wales Memorial Hurdle at 8/1 for claimer Nathan Brennan and trainer Henry Oliver. The 10-year-old gelding pounced to land the first success at his 19th attempt.

The opener boosted favourite backers when 4/7 chance Swaffham Bulbeck won the Claiming Hurdle. Under Callum McKinnes for trainer Olly Murphy, Swaffham Bulbeck, who won at the same meeting last year, tracked market rival Coole Well before taking it up before the last flight to score. The winning horse was bought by trainer Conor Dore for £14,000.


Under Callum McKinnes for trainer Olly Murphy, Swaffham Bulbeck won the Claiming Hurdle.


The finale, the Robert Hoare Memorial Hunter Chase, went to fast-finishing Full Irish under Jack Andrews for trainer David Phelan.


Words by Terry Redhead.

POST RACING REPORT - Sun Shocker As King Swoops For A Valentines Day Double

Sun Shocker As King Swoops For A Valentines Day Double

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 

January Raceday - Fakenam Racecourse

Welsh Wizard Williams Lands a Stunning Treble

Welsh trainer Christian Williams hit the headlines when taking the Welsh Grand National with Potters Corner under 17-year-old jockey Jack Tudor just after Christmas. And at Fakenham the pair struck again, with Williams training three winners on the day, two ridden by the teenager.


Williams completed his 45/1 treble when Cap Du Nord got home in the feature, the £15,000 Horsemen’s Group Chase.

Venetia Williams’ Eceparti looked the likely winner approaching the last of the 16 fences but Tudor forced his way through on the inside and got Cap Du Nord home narrowly, at 5/2.


“That is my first treble. We had a horse fall here last year when six lengths in front and that would have been my first one. That’s lovely. It is a lucky track for us.

“He has run well and Sandown and Ascot over shorter trips but it looks like they have made a man of him and hopefully next season he will be a nice horse. It looks like he stays well. He is just a classy horse,” said Christian.


The opener proved notable for jockey Adam Wedge who clocked up his 50th winner of the season when taking the Barnham Primary School Chase on Williams’ Strictlyadancer.

Favourite Blue Monday led but Strictlyadancer drew level three out and took it up rounding the final bend. The gelding went on to score comfortably, returned at 7/2, clear of the running on runner-up, Robin De Broome.

Williams didn’t have to wait long for his next winner when 4/1 chance Massini’s Dream, under top weight, scored in the Conditional Jockeys’ Hurdle.


Tudor kept the nine-year-old off the pace initially. But he ran through on the inside and with a good leap at the final flight, surged through for the mare’s debut success at the 14th time of asking.


Top trainer Nicky Henderson introduced a smart newcomer to hurdling when Grand Roi took the Maiden Hurdle under Nico De Boinville.

Bought from Laurent Veul in France in October, the four-year-old gelding went off at 1/3 and never saw another rival in landing the spoils in impressive fashion.


A jumping mistake four fences from home looked to have scuppered the chance of The Flying Sofa in the four-runner Novice Chase. But Jamie Moore sat tight and kept the seven-year-old going to score for his trainer, dad Gary.


The 5/4 favourite was very game and held off a strong finishing challenge from eventual second Eskendash under Jack Andrews.


There was a 14/1 surprise winner of the Mares’ Hurdle when Quantum of Solace got up late to score under Paddy Brennan for trainer Fergal O’Brien.


The finale, a Novice Hurdle, went to 5/4 shot Oscar Academy, on whom Lewis Stones claimed a seven-pound allowance for trainer Olly Murphy.



Words by Terry Redhead.

Jarrold Ladies Day at Fakenham Racecourse 2018Jarrold Ladies Day at Fakenham Racecourse 2018

Jarrold Ladies Day | Post Racing Report

Trainer Neil King’s Princeton Royale was given a tremendous ride by Jack Andrews to land the Jarrold Ladies Day Chase on a perfect day to close the 2017/18 season at Fakenham yesterday.

Andrews, more than six feet tall, sent Princeton Royale, twice a runner-up at the course this season, off in front and he never saw another rival as he galloped home over the three miles and 18 fences, returned the 5/2 joint-favourite and winner by five lengths.

“He deserved that. I would be great to have a yard full of horses like him. Now he has won his last two and that makes up for three seconds earlier in the season,” said a delighted King.

“He loves to be out in front on his own. He jumped so well and kept going that he put all the others under pressure,” said 20-year-old Jack, younger brother of Gina and Bridget Andrews.

It was near-perfect performance from the winner on what David Hunter, Fakenham’s Chief Executive and clerk of the course described as a ‘perfect day’. A huge crowd, the biggest at the course for many years, were able to enjoy the racing in glorious sunshine.

Any horse running on ladies day called Fifty Shades had to be a grey and that gelding duly obliged in a thrilling opening Pedlars Hall Café Double Bubble Breakfast Handicap Hurdle.

Produced by James Bowen having been held up towards the back of the field, Fifty Shades battled to hold off West To Crossgales to take the honours.

Trained by Christian Williams, who had made the 500-mile round trip from South Wales, Fifty Shades, the 10/11 favourite, went one better than when beaten by a narrow margin at Huntingdon on Bank Holiday Monday.

Champion jockey Richard Johnson had just one ride and made it a winning one on the Olly Murphy trained Yensir. Third on hurdling debut, 7/2 chance Yensir improved to take the Britbet Coming Soon Maiden Hurdle by a length from Sam Twiston-Davies on favourite Artful Artist.

It was Johnson’s 10th winner of the season at Fakenham, earning him the David Turner Trophy as the course’s leading rider of the campaign. And Murphy collected a couple of bottles of champagne following what was his 16th Fakenham winner of the season, his first as a trainer.

There was drama in the Wordingham Plant Hire Novice Chase when favourite Le Precieux fell in front of the packed stands. That left Master of Finance to fight it out with Gin and Tonic and the Lucy Wadham trained gelding took the spoils at 2/1 under Maxime Tissier.

Jockey Paige Fuller stole the Aylsham Show August Bank Holiday Hurdle for lady amateur riders on Havisham for trainer Jamie Snowden. No-one wanted to take it up at the off so Fuller stormed 25 lengths clear early on and held on comfortably to score at 6/1 in a race where none of the winners’ six rivals ever looked like getting involved.

The meeting came to a perfect finale when Midnight Bliss won the 1st The Queens Dragoons Guards Novice Chase.

The mare, ridden by the season’s top female jump jockey Bryony Frost and trained locally at Wymondham by her owner Caroline Fryer, led from start to finish to score in style at 5/2. Having won three point-to-points, Midnight Bliss provided Frost with her first Fakenham success in a dramatic race which saw just three runners complete the three-miles plus contest.

Words by Terry Redhead 

DATE OF NEXT RACE MEETING: At The Races Raceday, Friday 19th October


Book Tickets at Fakenham Racecourse

The Snellings Norfolk national. Fakenham Racecourse

The Snellings Norfolk National | POST RACING REPORT

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 

DATE OF NEXT RACE MEETING: Jarrold Ladies Day, Sunday 3rd June 2018


Book Tickets at Fakenham Racecourse

Post Racing Report | Saturday, 7th April

Jockey Sam Twiston-Davies bounced back from a fall in the opening race to collect the spoils on the classy Paul Nicholls trained Act of Valour in the novice hurdle, one of the championship hurdle series, at Fakenham’s rescheduled meeting on Saturday.

Odds-on favourite Pacific De Baune, trained by Nicky Henderson, set the pace but the grey gelding could not hold off Act of Valour, returned at 2/1, who was 12lbs better off at the weights.

Midfield in the Fred Winter Juvenile Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, Act of Valour will now go for the series final.

“He did it very well. We didn’t think Henderson’s horse could give us 12lbs and beat us and so it proved,” said a delighted Twiston-Davies.

That opening race fall left Twiston-Davies sore and he pulled out of the feature race, the David Keith Memorial Chase and was replaced by Daryl Jacob who duly survived a stewards’ enquiry to win on Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Templehills.

Fakenham regular Princeton Royale looked as if he might at last get his nose in front but the top weight and 15/8 favourite had enough to score despite jumping to his left at the final fence.

Trouble with the horsebox, which twice broke down en route from Wantage, and a subsequent late arrival at the course, couldn’t prevent Step Back from winning the Racing Partnership Chase under Nico de Boinville for trainer Mark Bradstock.

The gelding led from start to finish for a first success over fences, returned the odds-on 8/13 favourite and in scoring, completed a double for the jockey.

Global Domination got his reward for a consistent season which had seen him placed in his last four starts, when picking off the front two after the final fence to take the handicap chase under Sean Bowen.

Returned the 15/8 favourite, Global Domination was adrift of the leading pair approaching the last. But after a superb leap, Bowen drove past his rivals to score.

“He deserved that. We’ve wanted better ground and we’ve got it today. Together with adding a tongue strap, it all seemed to do the trick,” said trainer Caroline Bailey.

Norfolk-based jockey Fergus Gregory lost his seven-pound claim when he recorded his fifth win of the season at the course, partnering the Dan Skelton trained Ashkoul to victory in the opening Dunton Handicap Hurdle.

Gregory, from Thompson near Watton, produced the 9/2 chance to cruise by Dinsdale to follow up a recent Market Rasen success. In clocking up his 20th winner of his career, Gregory’s claim was reduced to five pounds.

Top weight Le Breuil, last seen in the Coral Cup at the Cheltenham Festival, won a dramatic handicap hurdle under de Boinville for trainer Ben Pauling.

Maxime Tissier charged through on Lucy Wadham’s grey mare Iconic Sky and celebrated when passing the winning line before realising there was another circuit to go. That left favourite Le Breuil in front and he held off all challengers to win from Sir Mangan, returned at 2/1. The blunder by Tissier, earned him a 14-day suspension handed down by the stewards.

The finale, the bumper, was won by Before Midnight, the 4/5 favourite winning by a nose to complete a treble for de Boinville. The winner was trained by Nicky Henderson, who coincidentally won as a jockey the last time Fakenham staged a Saturday meeting, in September 1975.

Words by Terry Redhead



Post Racing Report | Totepool Silver Cup Day

It may have been a long way from the Gold Cup at Cheltenham but celebrations were equally as enthusiastic when 8/1 chance Potters Midnight grabbed the Silver Cup at Fakenham yesterday.

Breeder and owner Jane May greeted winning jockey Jack Quinlan with a massive hug after he had dismounted from the mare, whose well-timed run guided her home by a length.

It could have been closer but for a jumping error at the final hurdle by eventual runner-up All My Love.

“She’s a tough little mare who jumped great and travelled well. It may have been closer had the other horse not hit the last, but mine was staying on,” said Quinlan.

“I’m so pleased for Mrs May, she’s so enthusiastic and bred this one,” he added.

Mrs May could not complete a double after a dramatic climax to the Prince Carlton Chase. Her Potters Legend was closing in on long-time leader Minella On Line but both fell at the final fence to leave outsider Morney Wing  to triumph, having been 35 lengths adrift when the leading pair crashed out.

Trained by Charlie Mann and ridden by Josh Moore, it was a lucky success for 9/1 chance Morney Wing, who held off What Happens Now.

Jockey Harrison Beswick managed a near all-the-way success when steering home Enjoy Responsibly, owned by his father John, in the Easter Monday Racing at Fakenham Chase.

The 5/2 chance, trained by Oliver Sherwood, took it up after the second fence and never saw a rival, producing a superb display of jumping to win from Morton’s Leam.

Winning machine Ascendant notched his sixth victory in seven starts this season when landing the selling hurdle under Patrick Cowley for trainer Johnny Farrelly. Sent off 4/11 favourite, 12-year-old Ascendant swept to the front before the final bend to run clear from Saucysioux.

Trainer Ollie Murphy continued his excellent success rate at the course when favourite Weebill had a facile win under James Nixon in the Robert Case Memorial Hurdle, returned a prohibitive 1/4.

But there was no double for Murphy when his gelding Wood Pigeon, sent off favourite, was beaten in the Walter Wales Memorial Chase, by 2/1 chance Heresmynumber, Adam Wedge’s only ride of the day, the winner trained by Ali Stronge.

Words by Terry Redhead


DATE OF NEXT RACE MEETING: Easter Monday, 2nd April 2018



Lycetts Raceday 16th February 2018

Post Racing Report | Lycetts Raceday

What an exciting sunny day for the Lycetts Raceday!

Rather Be, for champion trainer Nicky Henderson, is set for the Cheltenham Festival after a facile but impressive victory in the Lycetts Chase at Fakenham.

Sent off 2/7 favourite in a five-runner contest, Rather Be, under Jeremiah McGrath led from the start to win by 17 lengths.

“I didn’t want to go too steady. I wanted to teach him to jump at speed. He is talented. His next races will probably be at Cheltenham and Aintree so he will have to jump well. He’s still a big baby and lightly-raced, but the stable thinks a lot of him,” said McGrath.

The feature race was a triumph for brothers Tom and Michael Scudamore with 4/1 chance Twenty Eight Guns. Very promising last campaign, the mare seemed to have lost her way but she returned to form to beat Princeton Royale in an exciting Tim Barclay Memorial Handicap Chase.

“It’s always nice to have a winner but when your brother is the trainer it’s even better,” said Tom, adding that Michael had driven him to the course from their Herefordshire base.

The opener went to Beyeh under Jack Sherwood for Mick Appleby. She came in for good support from 10/1 to 9/2 and was game in holding off Hollywood All Star and favourite Hurricane Rita.

“She went over further last time but this two-mile trip was more suitable. She was gutsy, stuck her neck out and deserved her win,” said Sherwood.

Trainer Olly Murphy made it lucky 13 at the course this season when 10/11 chance Whiskey in the Jar cruised home in the novices’ hurdle. The winner, ridden by Norfolk-based claimer Fergus Gregory, eased down in front to score by nine lengths.

Murphy completed a double when Calipso Collonges won the Lycetts novice hurdle under Johnson, the gelding following up his victory on Saturday at Uttoxeter by beating two rivals by 23 lengths, returned the 1/14 favourite.

Emma Yardley claimed her first winner under rules when 11/4 shot Foxcub won the William Bulwer Long Hunters’ Chase for trainer Ryan Potter. The complexion of the race changed when Pride of Parish fell and brought down favourite Premier Portrait to decimate the five-runner field.

Johnson completes a double in the finale with his 146th win of the season when he got 5/6 favourite Melekov home for trainer Philip Hobbs, beating Arch My Boy by a head.







Norfolk Jockey Fergus Gregory. Image by Roger Harris

Norfolk’s jockey Fergus Gregory Scores a Double

Norfolk teenager Fergus Gregory, from the village of Thompson near Watton, scored a terrific 83/1 double at Fakenham on Monday to make it three wins from six rides at the course this season.

Eighteen-year-old Fergus, who rides for Olly Murphy, who trained four of Monday’s six winners, has now notched up 13 wins from his 86 career starts.

“I went to Town Close School and then Langley School, both in Norfolk. I did a course when at school and I left at 16 and went to the British Racing School at Newmarket.

“I went to a point-to-point trainer in Oxfordshire and about a year ago I rode out for Olly and he offered me a job,” said Fergus, who helped at Christine Dunnett’s stables at Higham when he was 11 and also at Caroline Fryer’s yard at Wymondham.

“I’ve ridden for both of them since I began my career as a jockey and it is great to keep in touch with people who have helped me.

Fergus has ridden at both Aintree and Cheltenham. “It’s great to ride those sort of tracks. I’m only 18 and Olly is a young trainer so we have a great working relationship,” he added.

And the teenager also praised the older established jockeys. “It’s a great privilege to be in the weighing room with people like champion jockey Richard Johnson. It’s unbelievable. Richard and the other jockeys are always helpful with all of us young lads.”

Fergus finds it difficult at such an early stage of his career to set goals.

“I just want to ride as many winners as I can and keep learning the trade,” he said. But he also knows the pitfalls of the job, having been injured and sidelined for about three weeks following a pre-Christmas fall at Towcester.

However, the winners make up for that, especially at Fakenham.

“It’s great to win at Fakenham as I am a Norfolk boy and it’s really special if your family and friends and people you were at school with see you ride a winner,” he said.

Norfolk Jockey Fergus Gregory. Image by Roger Harris

Words by Terry Redhead. Photo by Roger Harris 

ollie Murphy Racing at Fakenham Racecourse

Murphy Bags a Four-timer While Middleton Bashes the Bookies

Trainer Phil Middleton expected his bank balance to be boosted by around £50,000 after his Holly Bush Henry won Fakenham’s feature, the Wendling Chase.

Aylesbury-based Middleton, who arrived via helicopter 30 minutes before racing, had an accumulator on Saturday which resulted in three winners. He had those winners in a separate accumulator with Holly Bush Henry which meant a huge £8,000 stake was riding on the gelding, a 5/2 winner.

Middleton was suitably delighted when 16-year-old James Bowen got the gelding home after a super display of jumping.

“He had a lot of weight but was the best horse in the race,” said Bowen.

“It’s fantastic. It all fell in place on Saturday and to see Henry win here was great,” said Middleton, gleefully clutching his betting slip.

While Middleton was the richer, fellow trainer Olly Murphy was in great form and pulled off a remarkable 1,228/1 four-timer.

Champion jockey Richard Johnson conjured up a terrific last leap from grey mare Hurricane Rita to clinch the opener.

The eight-year-old, Murphy’s ninth winner at the course this season, launched herself over the final flight to win at 7/2.

“It was hard work, very sticky, but she’s done it well,” said Johnson. “It’s another for Olly who is having a great start as a trainer,” he added.

Johnson was beaten in the novice hurdle on odds-on Rio Quinto but that failed to stop the Murphy bandwagon as stablemate Piri Massini took the honours thanks to a pulsating final flourish under Norfolk-based Fergus Gregory.

Returned at 20/1 for Murphy, Piri Massini is owned by the stable’s sponsors and was having his first run since November 2015 following injury.

“No-one expected that. Richard said the leader got lonely in front and my horse kept staying on and surprised us all,” said Gregory, from Thompson near Watton.

Johnson went on to complete a double and Murphy’s treble when Wood Pigeon won a dramatic chase in which only three finished. Returned at 9/4, Wood Pigeon thwarted Scottish raider Achill Road Boy.

“It’s been a great day, a magic day,” said Murphy who then saw it get even better when Gregory completed his own double and Murphy’s four-timer when getting 3/1 chance Bisoubisou home in the finale.

Cambridgeshire winner Dolphin Vista, a 50/1 shock scorer at Newmarket in September, put up a brave hurdling debut but could not catch maiden hurdle winner Potters Midnight, returned at 11/4 under Leighton Aspell for trainer Lucy Wadham.


Words by Terry Redhead