Storm Katie perfect as Morney wings it at Fakenham
- Credit: Ian Burt
Most of East Anglia may have had its Easter marred by Storm Katie but trainer Charlie Mann was delighted with the rain she delivered.
His seven-year-old Morney Wing had won at a muddy Haydock earlier in the season and when the overnight and early morning rain fell at Fakenham yesterday, the conditions altered in his horse's favour.
As a result Morney Wing, ridden by Harry Bannister, put in a superb display of jumping to land the feature, the three-mile David Keith Memorial Chase, by two lengths.
Always up with the leaders, Morney Wing was delivered well by Bannister and ran on to beat Gamain and Atlantic Roller to take the £7,400 prize, returned at 7/1.
'I've been running him over the wrong trip all season. He needs three miles and I've been running him over two and a half,' said Mann.
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'But I'm most grateful to Storm Katie. The ground is the key and he needs it soft so it was perfect that the rain arrived,' added the trainer.
Gin and Tonic boosted the spirits of favourite backers in the Cecil and Sheila Buttifant Hurdle with an easy success, returned the 11/8 favourite.
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The Michael Wigham trained six-year-old was given a waiting ride by Ryan Hatch, having been last of the six at the start of the final circuit.
Hatch moved the former course winner through the pack and a fine jump at the final flight saw him home with Dylan's Storm second and Bonvilston Boy third.
It was a deserved victory for the Newmarket-based gelding who ran on to finish fifth at the course's last meeting after losing many lengths at the start.
The four-runner opening selling hurdle was competitive until the final half mile when the leading pair in the betting, Minister of Interior and Athou Du Nord, pulled clear.
Minister of Interior, the odds-on favourite, held the advantage until Athou Du Nord's jockey Alain Cawley ranged up on the outside with two to jump. He pulled clear on the Richard Hobson trained six-year-old to win by six lengths, returned at 7/4. The gelding was bought by trainer Ali Stronge for £6,000 in the subsequent sale.
The hurdlers in the fifth race finished desperately tired but it was the oddly-named Who's Micky Brown who took the honours under Nick Schofield for trainer Neil Mulholland.
Returned at 11/2, the winner stormed clear in the last half mile to win by more than 30 lengths from Heresmynumber and the staying-on veteran Flemi Two Toes.
The finale, the National Hunt flat race over two miles, went to the Nicky Henderson trained Kayf Grace. The mare jumped off in front and was never seriously threatened as she won in the manner a 1/5 favourite should under jockey Nico De Boinville.
Newcomer Indulgence was runner-up some 53 lengths adrift of a very impressive winner.
Two Hunter Chases tested the jumping ability of the small fields with the first of the two, the Robert Hoare Novices' Hunters' Chase, going to the 13/8 favourite, Clonbanan Lad under Jody Sole for trainer Louise Allan.
The eventual winner took it up with a circuit to go and although top weight Man of Steel kept plugging on, rider Joe Hill could never mount a serious challenge.
Connections said that Clonbanan Lad would now be aimed for the Aintree Foxhunters' Chase at the Grand National meeting.
George Greenock won the Queen's Cup, the three-mile Hunters' Chase, riding 11/10 favourite Mr Madeit on his rules debut.
The six-time winner in point-to-points, trained by Gerald Bailey, survived one clumsy jump to hold off persistent runner-up Master Workman from David Kemp's Thetford stable.
The race saw the day's only faller, Archie Wright parting company with It Was Me on the second circuit.