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West Norfolk at Fakenham
Sunday 22nd April 2018
by James Crispe

Julie Whales, the secretary of the West Norfolk Point-To-Point, gained wonderful reward for all her hard work organising the meeting when Multimedia gave her a hugely popular first success as a trainer at Fakenham on Sunday.

Ridden by Wymondham's Rupert Stearn, Multimedia proved seven lengths too strong for Hammer And Anvil to get off the mark at the lucky thirteenth time of asking in the Open Maiden Race.

Only six of those starts have been for Julie and her husband Trevor, who live just ten miles from the course at East Lexham – the son of Multiplex was purchased out of David Pipe's National Hunt yard in September 2015.

"We had thought about running him at High Easter last week," Julie admitted, "but we decided not to because of the soft ground. Then today we were worried that the ground [which was officially 'good, good to firm in places'] might be too fast but it's all worked out for the best."
Another well received local success was achieved in the Skinner's Pet Foods Ladies Open by Sedgemoor Express, who was completing an Open Race double for Oxfordshire trainer, Alan Hill, after Broken Eagle had carried off the men's equivalent.

For Sedgemoor Express is owned by Thursford farmer, Keith Loads, who was his usual ebullient self in the winner's enclosure, saying: "I've wanted to win a race at my home course with a horse carrying my colours for 45 years and now I've finally done it. I couldn't be happier, especially since my 94-year-old father was here to see it."

Fast ground-loving Broken Eagle has had a troubled season, mainly owing to the prevailing soft ground, but also because his two racecourse appearances were against a grand total of four opponents, and in one of them he was brought down at the very first fence.

This time four doughty rivals grasped the nettle of taking on one of Britain's fastest pointers including the five-time Fakenham winner, Master Workman, who had the temerity to lead the perennial front-runner for a circuit.

Thereafter normal service was resumed, with Broken Eagle, ridden by third choice jockey, Archie Wright, from Badlingham, near Newmarket, clocking the fastest time of the day in scoring by eight lengths.

A second Norfolk-trained winner on the card came in the Veteran & Novice Riders Race as Kingston College, who hails from the Wymondham yard of Caroline Fryer and was ridden by Kate Gowing, from Mulbarton, near Norwich, beat Penelope Pips by five lengths.

Chosen Rose, another horse who has been waiting for the ground to dry up, maintained her unbeaten record since joining the Timworth, near Bury St Edmunds, stable of Andrew Pennock when taking the Restricted Race by seven lengths.

But a second Pennock inmate, Steeles Terrace, suffered his first defeat under his tutelage, going down by three and a half lengths to his solitary rival, Kalabaloo, in the Connolly's Red Mills Intermediate Race.

Kalabaloo was a third winner of the weekend for jockey Gina Andrews, and her 18th of a season that will surely see her retain her National Lady Riders Championship. But it was not all plain sailing for Gina, as she suffered a painful fall when coming down on the bend when lying in second place aboard Full Batten in the Restricted.

Like Gina, Dale Peters has been enjoying a fine season in the saddle and he took his tally for the campaign to nine when guiding Dido to a two and a half length defeat of Virgo The First in the PPORA Club Race.

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