Favourite O’Farrell secures double at Fakenham Racecourse

King's Road (left) and Unwanted Gift fight for the lead over the final hurdle in the first race at F

King's Road (left) and Unwanted Gift fight for the lead over the final hurdle in the first race at Fakenham. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

Jockey Conor O’Farrell performed a minor miracle to sit tight at the last of 18 fences on his way to a double at the seven-race meeting at Fakenham yesterday.

O’Farrell’s heroics at the final fence rewarded favourite backers on Mick Channon’s Ballypatrick in the Andy Don Memorial Chase.

The 10/11 market leader always looked like holding runner-up Buck’s Bond but punters had hearts in their mouths at the last as O’Farrell kept the partnership intact despite his mount’s blunder on his way to a 13-length victory.

O’Farrell then completed a double on David Pipe’s Edmund Kean. The 10/1 shot owned by Ffos Las course owner Dai Walters, easily took the novice hurdle by six lengths from Seedsman and another Pipe runner, Barney Cool.

Under-rated jockey Leighton Aspell’s professionalism allowed The Black Baron to take day’s feature, the Tim Barclay Memorial Handicap Chase.

Aspell always had the 11-year-old handy and steered the 9-1 chance home by six lengths from Three Chords at 11/2 and complete outsider, The Thirsty Bricky, at 40/1.

The Black Baron usually runs too freely but Aspell schooled the horse earlier yesterday morning ‘to take the freshness out of him,’ and that clearly worked wonders for a mount that had unseated his rider at the first at Market Rasen 10 days earlier.

Most Read

The complete outsider of the five-runner field for the long-distance hurdle prevailed at 11/1. Chargen was winning for the first time in 27 attempts but did so well under Grand National winning jockey Daryl Jacobs for trainer Sean Curran.

Given a great ride, Chargen landed the odds by holding off fellow outsider Jonny Rye, at 13/2, for in-form Newark trainer Michael Appleby, fresh from a Sunday all-weather treble at Southwell.

It was a long way home for beaten favourite Dalrymple after the opener. Trainer Polly Grundy’s gelding never landed a blow in the selling hurdle and left for the second half of a 538-mile return trip to Devon.

The Tom Messenger ridden King’s Road was delivered perfectly to take the honours at 3/1 from top weight Unwanted Gift and third-placed Mezarat. Messenger always had the Boxing Day Market Rasen runner-up well positioned and won by four lengths for trainer Anabel Murphy.

Joe Hill, in his first ride under rules, took the Walter Wales Cup on his father’s owned and trained Ravethebrave, the 9/4 favourite in the Foxhunter Trial Hunters’ Chase.

He took over from long-time leader Flaming Gorge whose trainer, Bressingham-based Fleur Hawes must have been delighted after her horse recovered following a crashing fall at the final fence.

The finale, a National Hunt flat race, went to 4/11 favourite Free Thinking who gave backers anxious moments under Sam Waley-Cohen in beating Rising Teal by just half a length.

The next meeting is scheduled for Friday, March 15, first race 1.45pm.