Richard Johnson is one to follow at Fakenham as he bids for title hat-trick
PUBLISHED: 17:56 18 December 2017 | UPDATED: 17:56 18 December 2017
Champion jockey Richard Johnson is a regular visitor to Fakenham and the man leading the charge to what he hopes is a third successive rider’s title in May could be the one to follow on Tuesday afternoon’s six-race card.
Johnson teams up with trainers Warren Greatrex and Olly Murphy to hold outstanding chances throughout the afternoon.
In the opener Johnson and Greatrex have four-year-old filly Dory, a Uttoxeter bumper winner then seventh without being disgraced in a listed event at Cheltenham last month.
Newmarket-based Lucy Wadham could provide the main dangers in the seven-runner field for the mares’ novice hurdle with Banjo Girl, a former Southwell winner under seven-pound claimer Maxime Tissier, and Potter Midnight, under Leighton Aspell, the mare fourth at Towcester last month in her first run for almost two years.
Johnson and Greatrex have the favourite for the 1.10pm handicap hurdle with seven-year-old mare Pennywell, a Uttoxter winner at the end of last month although she now faces a seven-pound rise in the weights. Chief threats seem to be Scooby, Kielan Woods for Graeme McPherson, and former course winner Shinooki, under Wayne Hutchinson for trainer Alex Hales.
The feature race at 1.40pm is the At The Races Chase when seven tackle two miles and five furlongs in the soft going. Daryl Jacobs partners the Ben Pauling-trained Creep Desbois, whose chasing debut at Ascot was sound although three miles seemed to stretch the stamina.
Johnson rides Olly Murphy’s Royal Plaza, who fell last time out, while Cody Wyoming, a winner at the last Fakenham meeting, returns for Charlie Mann with Gavin Sheehan in the saddle. Another former Fakenham winner, Enjoy Responsibly, represents Oliver Sherwood, who has Conor Shoemark on board.
Nine go in the 2.10pm handicap hurdle with Johnson and Murphy likely favourites with Ataman, formerly trained on the flat by Chris Wall and making a handicap debut.
However, Aza Run and Hurrican Rita look sound while previous course and distance winner Cubswin could go in again for Neil King and jockey Trevor Whelan, the filly having scored in north Norfolk on November 16.
Five go in the 2.40pm handicap chase with Morton’s Leam for Woods and trainer Pam Sly looking to hold off Mullaghboy under Johnson for Murphy, that ex-Fakenham winner now having a first try over the bigger obstacles.
The 3.10pm finale sees nine in the maiden hurdle with Hutchinson riding for Alan King on likely favourite William Hunter, a previously decent horse on the flat.
Tuesday’s meeting is subject to an 8am inspection, because of the possibility of frost and freezing fog overnight.
Selections: 12.40pm Dory; 1.10pm Minella Gathering; 1.40pm Creep Desbois; 2.10pm Cubswin; 2.40pm Morton’s Leam; 3.10pm William Hunter.