Fakenham Races report

Sonning Star, owned by TV chat-show host Jeremy Kyle, won the feature race of the race, the totepool Fakenham Silver Cup Handicap Hurdle, as Fakenham Racecourse staged its Festival of National Hunt Racing yesterday.

Sonning Star, owned by TV chat-show host Jeremy Kyle, won the feature race of the race, the totepool Fakenham Silver Cup Handicap Hurdle, as Fakenham Racecourse staged its Festival of National Hunt Racing yesterday.

The Nick Gifford-trained gelding led from the off in the two-mile contest and despite close attention from Benedict Spirit (2nd) and Bedizen (3rd) around the home turn, Sonning Star had more juice left in the tank to forge away on the run-in to win by three quarters of a length under a super ride from young, Jay Pemberton, riding his first Fakenham winner.

The delighted winning jockey said afterwards: 'He has done it well and we were hoping the blinkers would work today. He had good form as a juvenile, but has problems since - so we are so pleased for everyone, because he is a capable horse.'

All in all it was a cracking afternoon for racegoers with two meetings for the price of one, as well a lovely dry spring day.


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The afternoon got underway with the Kevin Morgan-trained, Bromhead, landing a gamble to win the North Norfolk Radio Selling Handicap Hurdle (2.20). The four-year-old gelding, backed in from 14-1 to 100/30 at the off, was always travelling strongly just off the pace and once James Reveley asked him to quicken after the second last, there was only go to be one winner - with Bromhead running away to win by 15 lengths from Montiyra in second place.

'I bought him at the sales for �2000 out of Christine Dunnett`s yard. We thought he had a chance today if would could settle him and that worked out well. He`s no world-beater, but a winner is a winner,' said the winning trainer.

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After the race, Bromhead was bought back in for �6000.

Ride of the day, goes to young jockey, David England, who survived a dreadful mistake at the third last aboard, Pheidias, to win the Robert Case Memorial Beginners Chase (2.55). The 9/2 shot, fitted with cheek-pieces for the first time, was always in the front rank and despite that bad mistake battled on all the way and turn-over the odds-on favourite, Penn Da Benn, by 11 lengths.

An overjoyed winning jockey said 'He is usually a good jumper and ran well today, with fitting the cheek-pieces made all the difference,' said the winning jockey.

The Alan King-trained, Bormo, justified favouritism to land the Tim Barclay Memorial Handicap Chase (3.35). The six-year-old gelding gained his first career win, but was made to work hard by the outsider, Royal Wedding, who jumped beautifully throughout and will be winning soon. Despite taking the lead three fences out, Bormo, could not shake off Royal Wedding and jockey,Wayne Hutchinson, had to galvanise the favourite on the run-in to score by one and three quarter lengths from Royal Wedding , while course-specialist, Cool Roxy, stayed on for third.

'He has been knocking on door and the step in trip helped today, but he was not suited by the course.'

15-8 favourite, Penny Doc, was distance winner of the William Bulwer-Long Memorial Novices` Fox Hunters Chase (4.15), but it would have been a lot closer if High Skies had not fallen at the last. Given a peach of ride by trainer and jockey, Mr Philip York, Penny Doc seemed to cruising down the back straight, but High Skies started to gain ground and was challenging at the last, when falling to gift the race to Penny Doc, who now heads for Aintree for the Foxhunters Chase.

While the 9/4 on favourite, Conquisto, put in a sparkling display in the finale, the SPC Holdings Conditional Jockeys` Maiden Hurdle (5.30) to win by 25 lengths. The Steve Gollings-trained gelding led from pillar to post, jumping his hurdles fast and clean and quickly turned the race into a procession. Watch out for this horse, maybe at Aintree in a few weeks time.

Next meting at Fakenham is on Easter Monday, April 5.

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