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Jacob pulls a cracker to claim big race honours at Fakenham’s 2017 finale

PUBLISHED: 17:37 19 December 2017

Rio Quinto, ridden by Richard Johnson, wins the sixth race of the day at Fakenham. Picture: Ian Burt

Rio Quinto, ridden by Richard Johnson, wins the sixth race of the day at Fakenham. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2017

Creep Desbois dropped back in trip to land the feature, the At The Races Handicap Chase, at Fakenham under in-form jockey Daryl Jacob.

Tough going on a cold day at Fakenham races. Picture: Ian BurtTough going on a cold day at Fakenham races. Picture: Ian Burt

The Ben Pauling-trained gelding was a creditable fifth at Ascot over three miles but the drop back to two miles five furlongs worked as he beat six rivals to land the £15,000 contest by a length.

“He had to dig deep but he’s jumped well. He’s a little bit raw but Ben has done a great job with him,” said Jacob.

The 6/5 favourite was always handy and ran on well to win from Popelys Gull in a race in which the two fences on the stands side of the course were omitted because of the low sun.

It was a case of entente cordiale in the opening mares’ novice hurdle, won by Banjo Girl, trained at Newmarket by Lucy Wadham and ridden by French rider Maxime Tissier.

Gin And Tonic, with Jack Quinlan aboard, wins the fourth race of the day at Fakenham. Picture: Ian BurtGin And Tonic, with Jack Quinlan aboard, wins the fourth race of the day at Fakenham. Picture: Ian Burt

The 27-year-old was having only his second ride in England, having won 14 times in France, and he led from start to finish on the five-year-old mare, which, returned at 2/1, held off champion jockey Richard Johnson on the favourite Dory.

“I have been in England for 16 months and I am learning the business and the language,” said the delighted winning jockey before wishing connections Joyeux Noel.

Well-backed Minella Gathering produced his best effort of the season to land the three-mile hurdle under Paddy Brennan for trainer Paul Henderson. The 3/1 favourite was locked together with market rivals Pennywell and Scooby approaching the final flight and jumped ahead to score by two lengths.

Jack Quinlan was a replacement on Michael Wigham’s Gin And Tonic and the regular Fakenham visitor rewarded his rider with a victory at 9/2. Cubswin challenged at the final flight but, despite Trevor Whelan’s urgings, that filly couldn’t get there as Gin And Tonic showed his spirit.

Mortens Leam, left,  went on to win the fifth race. Picture: Ian BurtMortens Leam, left, went on to win the fifth race. Picture: Ian Burt

Peterborough’s Pam Sly won the novice chase for the second year running when Kielan Woods gave 4/5 favourite Morton’s Leam a fine ride to cruise home from Oakidoaki after main rival Mullaghboy fell before he could mount a challenge under Johnson.

The last race saw Johnson’s luck change when he got home on Olly Murphy’s Rio Quinto, returned at 7/1.

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