Photo gallery: Fennell Bay home and dry on soggy Fakenham debut

Fennel Bay won the 2nd race of the day at Fakenham Racecourse. Picture: Ian Burt Fennel Bay won the 2nd race of the day at Fakenham Racecourse. Picture: Ian Burt

Thursday, January 2, 2014
6:30 AM

Fennell Bay, a Royal Ascot winner in 2012, made an impressive hurdling debut to take the two-mile maiden at a wet and blustery Fakenham yesterday.

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When trained on the flat by Mark Johnston, Fennell Bay took the King George V Stakes at the royal meeting as a three-year-old.

Now trained by John Ferguson near Newmarket, Fennell Bay, under Jack Quinlan, was asked the question half a mile out and the 11/8 favourite quickened impressively in the very soft ground to score. Later in the afternoon the official going was changed to heavy.

Diss trainer Fleur Hawes must have been delighted with her Cappielow Park’s run in second, which betrayed odds of 66/1, with newcomer Polstar back in third.

The amateur riders’ chase proved dramatic. Favourite Upton Mead refused at the first fence and King Ozzy unseated at the second, leaving just three runners. In the end, 7/2 shot Full Ov Beans won easily from Minella Ranger.

Under Miss Ali Stirling, Full Ov Beans, trained by Michael Gates, cruised home by 57 lengths to record his first win since scoring at the track in October 2012.

The feature race, the two and a half mile hurdle, went to top weight Maller Tree under seven-pound claimer Kieron Edgar.

The gelding had run well for Jessica Harrington in Ireland and comfortably got home to score for trainer David Dennis at 12/1.

“He loved the trip and the conditions and couldn’t have done it better. I think there is more improvement to come from him,” said the winning jockey.

Trainer Peter Bowen’s team left its Haverfordwest base at 4.15am with seven-year-old gelding Tony Dinozzo for the novice chase. The trip proved worthwhile with the Jamie Moore-ridden 2/1 favourite easily winning a race in which only two horses completed.

New Year favourite backers had made a great start in the opener when the 1/3 odds-on Stow won the hurdle race.

Seven-pound claimer Josh Wall never had a problem and trainer Michael Blake’s gelding took it up half a mile out to win easily by 23 lengths from County Zen, trained at Wymondham by Caroline Fryer.

The finale, the three-mile handicap hurdle, went to The Young Master under five-pound claimer Conor Shoemark. The Neil Mulholland-trained 11/4 chance was always in the driving seat and won by 34 lengths from Mistral Reine, a winner at the track at the previous meeting.

The next meeting at Fakenham is on Thursday, January 23, with a first race time of 1.10pm.

Prize winner

Champion Waveney Valley pig farmer Peter Mortimer won the EDP’s New Year’s Day at the races competition.

He was one of dozens of successful entrants, who correctly said racing first took place at the Fakenham course in 1905.

His prize include a conducted tour behind the scenes by the chief executive and clerk to the course, David Hunter, and to judge the best turned out horse in the third race, the 1.30pm, and then present a memento to the winning owner.

Mr Mortimer, of Fir Tree Farm, Metfield, near Harleston, is no stranger to success at Fakenham, as a member of the Elite Racing Club. About five years ago, he was in the winner’s enclosure at the course.

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