Princeton Royale enjoys perfect day as curtain comes down on season at Fakenham
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
Trainer Neil King's Princeton Royale was given a tremendous ride by Jack Andrews to land the Jarrold Ladies Day Chase on a perfect day to close the 2017/18 season at Fakenham yesterday.
Andrews sent Princeton Royale, twice a runner-up at the course, off in front and he never saw another rival as he galloped home over three miles and 18 fences, returned the 5/2 joint favourite and winner by five lengths.
'He deserved that. It would be great to have a yard full of horses like him,' said a delighted King.
'He loves to be out in front. He jumped well and kept going and that put the others under pressure,' said 20-year-old Andrews.
It was near perfect performance from the winner on what David Hunter, Fakenham's chief executive and clerk of the course described as a 'perfect day'. A huge crowd, the biggest at the course for many years, enjoyed the racing in glorious sunshine.
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Any horse running on ladies day called Fifty Shades had to be a grey and that gelding obliged in the thrilling opening handicap hurdle.
Produced late by James Bowen, Fifty Shades battled to hold off West To Crossgales to take the honours.
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Trained by Christian Williams, who made the 500-mile round trip from South Wales, Fifty Shades, the 10/11 favourite, went one better than when beaten narrowly at Huntingdon on Bank Holiday Monday.
Champion jockey Richard Johnson's only ride proved a winning one on Olly Murphy's Yensir. Third on hurdling debut, 7/2 chance Yensir improved to take the maiden hurdle by a length. It was Johnson's 10th winner of the season at Fakenham, earning him the David Turner Trophy as the leading jockey. Murphy, in his first season as a trainer, was recording his 16th winner at the track.
Le Precieux fell in front of the stands in the novice chase and left Master of Finance to fight it out with Gin and Tonic and the Lucy Wadham trained gelding took the spoils at 2/1 under Maxime Tissier. Then jockey Paige Fuller stole the handicap hurdle for lady amateurs on Havisham for trainer Jamie Snowden. No-one wanted to take it up so Fuller stormed 25 lengths clear and held on to win at 6/1.
The meeting ended perfectly when Midnight Bliss won The Queens Dragoons Guards Novice Chase. The mare, ridden by Bryony Frost and trained at Wymondham by owner Caroline Fryer, led from the start to score at 5/2. Having won three point-to-points, Midnight Bliss provided Frost with her first Fakenham success in a race which saw just three complete the course.