Ciaran Gethings takes Fakenham’s top prize with huge victory
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Ciaran Gethings, leading rider at Fakenham this season, scooped the course's top race of the year, the Snellings Norfolk National when the Stuart
Ciaran Gethings, leading rider at Fakenham this season, scooped the course's top race of the year, the Snellings Norfolk National when the Stuart Edmunds' trained Hepijeu romped home by 17 lengths over the three and half mile plus stamina test.
The valuable race, worth almost £20,000 to the winner, had drama at the last of the 22 fences when champion jockey Richard Johnson's mount Achill Road Boy came crashing down.
"We got a bit lucky but we deserved it," said the winning trainer.
"He ran away early and I had to keep hold of him. I got in front too soon but he knows how to look after himself," said Gethings, notching up his seventh winner in Norfolk this campaign.
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It was a great reward for Edmunds and Gethings, the jockey having driven for two hours on Monday to stay overnight at Edmunds's Newport Pagnell stables before a three-hour trip on Tuesday.
"It was a bit of a trek but it's a nice prize so well worth it," he added, after dismounting from the 8/1 winner who scored from Doing Fine and favourite, Fifty Shades.
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Top weight Butlergrove King put in a superb round of jumping to land the Snellings Handicap Chase under Adam Wedge.
Trainer Christian Williams, who had a 530-mile round trip from his Bridgend stables, saw his 10-year-old, returned at 4/1, beat Kingston Mimosa, third at Kempton 24 hours earlier.
"He kept trying and his jumping was superb. I always had enough in hand," said Wedge.
Wedge later failed to hold on for a shock win on Tsundoku in the Congratulations Norwich City to the Premier League Hurdle. Favourite Inessa, under Sam Twiston-Davies, had to battle hard to get up in the last strides to take the prize for trainer Richard Newland, returned at 4/7.
Former champion trainer Nicky Henderson loves sending young horses to Fakenham and 5/4 favourite Chapparal Prince, under Nico de Boinville took the Snellings Maiden Hurdle.
The race developed into a three-horse battle with long-time leader Chapparal Prince breaking his duck, holding off Topofthecotswolds and Dancing Doug.
The selling hurdle went to a gelding having his final race, Movie Set, at 7/2, under Connor Brace for trainer Richard Spencer.
The finale, the three-horse Hunter Chase for the Turner Trophy, went to the outsider, Asockastar, under Shane Quinlan for trainer Daniel John Bourne.