Woodlark Island (4/9 fav) scored impressively at Fakenham's Easter Monday meeting.The David Pipe trained odds on shot holds an entry for Wetherby's opener this afternoon following a battling two length win in the 1824 Fakenham Membership Novices' Handicap Hurdle.
Woodlark Island (4/9 fav) scored impressively at Fakenham's Easter Monday meeting.
The David Pipe trained odds on shot holds an entry for Wetherby's opener this afternoon following a battling two length win in the 1824 Fakenham Membership Novices' Handicap Hurdle.
Tom Scudamore - primed to ride Grand National top weight Madison du Berlais at the weekend - repelled a gutsy effort from E Major to remain one step ahead of the handicapper.
“We had to work a bit harder than I thought but mine is an improving sort,” said Scudamore. “He's maturing, more than anything, and getting the hang of things. It probably wasn't as straightforward as it was going to look at one point but the way he has jumped the last two has really helped us.
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“The ground was good, a bit tacky in places, and he would want the better ground because he's a typical flat horse but he is going in the right direction. The handicapper might have something to say now but he could run at Wetherby, but we'll just have to see how he comes out of this race.”
Scudamore's booking looked significant having escaped a penalty for a recent Wincanton conditional jockeys' success. But E Major is definitely worthy of continued support after an encouraging racecourse return following nearly a year off track.
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Sarahs Gift (7/2) rewarded pilot Tom Messenger with a long over success in the David Keith Memorial Handicap feature. Messenger cashed in on a spare ride with regular partner Christian Williams at Huntingdon to break his 123-day drought in the saddle. Messenger's mount and Quilver Tatou (7/1) pulled a long way clear but Sarahs Gift stayed on over the last.
“He made it well,” said Messenger. “He is a tough little horse who hadn't run for a while and he has freshened up since so I think the break did him a world of good. I think he'll keep going through the summer now and he'll win a couple of decent prizes you would hope.
“The ground wasn't a problem. He could handle it a bit quicker but I'm just delighted he got his head in front. I'd schooled him at home and he was buzzing.”
Winning handler Lawney Hill admitted connections were confident after a five-month
“I thought he has every chance because he is fresh and working very well after a good break,” she said. “He had won at Sedgefield and Newton Abbot, so we knew he acts on a tight left-handed course.”
Palos Conti (15/8 fav) landed a nice touch in the Easter Monday Handicap Hurdle after main danger Sir Harry Cool was pulled up ahead of the final circuit.
“The second made us work a bit harder than we perhaps would have liked,” said winning jockey Dougie Costello. “Maybe I got there too soon and then you think he won't have to do too much in front, but instead he idled a bit. You have to remember he won easy last time and the track probably wouldn't suit him here. From memory he won over two and half, two years ago here but ideally this is not his trip.”
Godfrey Maundrell struck a blow for the older generation when the 61-year-old owner, trainer and jockey guided home Lisadell King (15/8) in the Fakenham Novices' Hunters Chase.
The multiple point to point winner avoided early carnage to maintain the veteran's unbeaten stint at the north Norfolk track from three rides.
Big-priced outsider Jimmys Duky (50/1) grabbed a place when Gun Smith careered through the final fence.
Charlie Mann's Kanad (5/2) edged out Lady Pilot (10/11 fav) in the opener before being bought back in by connections for 5,200 guineas.
The former Ascot grade two winner needed a confidence booster after failing to shine over hurdles but still proved the class act on his drop to plating level.
Picabo Kid (13/2) powered away from Kadount (9/4) to pocket the Queen's Cup then Irish raider Silver Gypsy (7/1) landed a major gamble in the North Norfolk Mares' Maiden Open National Hunt Flat finale.