Skelton’s French import improves to triumph in Silver Cup at Fakenham Racecourse

Racing action from Fakenham. Picture: IAN BURT

Racing action from Fakenham. Picture: IAN BURT - Credit: Ian Burt

French import Boss Des Mottes took the top prize at Fakenham yesterday, winning the Silver Cup in style under Ryan Mahon, writes Terry Redhead.

With trainer Dan Skelton busy at Cheltenham, it was low-key at the north Norfolk course, but there was no doubting the winner's ability as he stormed through to take the handicap hurdle by seven lengths.

'The sharp track suited him and he's done it well. It's been a bit crazy at the stables this week,' said the winning jockey, who delivered the 11/4 winner perfectly to beat Red Inca and Ruler Of All.

'He's improved considerably since coming over from France,' added Mahon.

The fact that Lord Fox, under Jonathan England for trainer Shaun Harris, repeated his victory of last year in the Marham Chase for the Walter Wales Cup, hardly tells the story.

The winner, returned at 3/1, beat the only other finisher of the eight starters, Saddlers Deal, in a dramatic contest.

On the second of three circuits leader The Purchaser fell and both That's The Deal and Bob Will unseated their riders. That was after early leader Unknown Legend had pulled up.

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Peak Seasons also pulled up as favourite Jazz Man sped from last to first to take it up two out. However, with Lord Fox closing, Jazz Man crashed out at the final fence leaving Lord Fox to celebrate.

Only four ran in the Prince Carlton Chase, but it still produced a cracking finish in which Benevolent, under Tom Messenger for Grantham trainer Chris Bealby, triumphed at 9/2.

Benevolent and odds-on favourite Guiding George pulled well clear with half a mile to go and fought out a real battle in the home straight, Benevolent winning by half a length.

The aptly-named Aldborough, making a hurdling debut, was narrowly seen off in a thrilling finish to the two-mile contest won by 2/1 favourite Apterix.

A competitive contest saw the newcomer, under James Best, look sure to win, but Apterix, from Brian Ellison's stable and ridden by Garry Lavery, got up on the run-in after the final flight, to score by a head.

Jonnie Skull, a 17-time winner on the flat, including five victories in the 2013 season at Great Yarmouth, scored in the selling hurdle to get the card under way.

The Phil McEntee trained nine-year-old broke clear from the tape under Jack Quinlan and romped home to win by 20 lengths, returned at 15/8, beating the odds-on favourite Flying Phoenix.

The finale was a match between the David Pipe trained Ainsi Fideles, winner of the Reynoldstown Chase at Ascot, under Conor O'Farrell, and Flitchity, a Fakenham regular.

There were a staggering 89lbs between them on official ratings and the 1/20 favourite cruised home by eight lengths after successfully taking the 18 obstacles to record Pipe's 106th winner of the season.

Next meeting is on Easter Monday (April 6) with a first race time of 1.55pm.

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