Photo gallery: Ryan Winks and Dashing George light up the dark skies at Fakenham

Action from Fakenham Races 14th February meeting - 2.45 fourth race, Dashing George in the lead. Picture: Matthew Usher. Action from Fakenham Races 14th February meeting - 2.45 fourth race, Dashing George in the lead. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Saturday, February 15, 2014
6:30 AM

Amateur jockey Ryan Winks’ winning smile illuminated the dark skies at wet and windy Fakenham yesterday when he landed the feature race on Dashing George.

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The 12-year-old was returned at 12/1 after storming home in the heavy conditions in the Tim Barclay Memorial Chase by 11 lengths, from outsider of the five-strong field, Sir Lynx.

Dashing George, trained by Ryan’s father Peter in Barnsley, was always well positioned and took full advantage of the fall of hat-trick seeking Full Ov Beans and of a blunder by the Venetia Williams trained favourite, Elenika, to collect the lion’s share of the £10,500 prize fund.

The jockey, enjoying the biggest win of his career and only his third under rules, was delighted after his near three-hour trip from South Yorkshire. He survived a blunder at the first fence where he lost an iron and also dropped his whip three out.

“The plan was to run him from the front and it worked well. It’s the best win of my career,” he said.

Jockey Tom Scudamore produced an excellent front-running display to win the hurdle on the David Pipe trained Doctor Harper. Scudamore’s white cap shone like a beacon on a grey day as none of his four rivals got close to the dual bumper winner who was returned the evens money favourite.

Outsider Robbers Roost, at 33/1, finished second to complete a good day for trainer Tim Vaughan and jockey Richard Johnson.

His Destroyer Deployed, again under Johnson, was one of two horses making their chasing debuts who fought out the finish of the Andy Don Memorial Beginners’ Chase.

Johnson’s mount, the 7/4 shot, got the better of odds-on favourite Spirit Oscar to make the 500-mile round trip from the Vale of Glamorgan worthwhile and allow the jockey to take his season’s win tally to 118.

Mistral Reine has a good record at Fakenham and Leighton Aspell gave the Lucy Wadham trained mare a super ride to win the three-mile hurdle.

A winner at the track in December, the 6/4 favourite was always going best of the quintet and eventually cruised home by 18 lengths from top weight Curtain Razer.

The Hunter Chase was a remarkable affair. Two of the five runners were out at the first fence leaving three to battle it out. And it took a photograph to settle the issue with favourite Jack Bene, returned at even money, just holding on from Mister Chancer to give jockey Jody Sole and Newmarket trainer Louise Allan victory.

Conditions were appalling for the finale, the bumper, which was won by 22 lengths for 1/4 favourite Ron’s Dream under Donal Devereux for Welsh trainer Peter Bowen.

Before racing, Fakenham chief executive David Hunter presented 18-times champion jockey A P McCoy with a garden bench to mark his completing 4,000 career winners, achieved at Towcester in November.

As well as receiving the bench, McCoy was also presented with a framed print from course photographer Roger Harris.

However, it was not a successful day for McCoy, whose only ride ended with him second on the Jim Best trained favourite Slaney Star.

Despite McCoy’s urgings, the market leader failed to overhaul 2/1 shot Powertakeoff under Paddy Brennan for Henry Oliver, who recorded his first winner at the course.

Next meeting at Fakenham is on Friday, March 14.

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