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.