Bryony Frost will be hoping her victory aboard Martello Sky at Fakenham is a sign of things to come when teaming up with Frodon in the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase on Boxing Day.
The 25-year-old, who will be seeking a second Grade One on the 2019 Ryanair Chase hero at Kempton on Saturday, made her only ride of the day a winning one in the Vote Hollie Doyle Sports Personality 2020 Mares’ Maiden Hurdle.
Picking up well for pressure, the Lucy Wadham-trained four-year-old met the last on a good stride before defeating Allavina by three and a quarter lengths to make it three wins from as many visits to the Norfolk track.
Frost said after her success aboard the 11-8 favourite: “I couldn’t quite hold my position, but the ground is better down the inside and we had to sit and suffer for a minute. The last, she saw it, measured it and pinged it carefully and she went away very well.
“She is very clever and is nimble and balanced for a young mare. She also has a great turn of foot.
“It is brilliant to get another winner on the board and her owners are all local. I’m sure they will pop a bottle of champagne for her.”
Although Frodon is a general 20-1 chance to strike gold in the King George, Frost reports the Paul Nicholls-trained eight-year-old to be in good order ahead of his return to Grade One company.
She said: “Frodon is squealing and in good health at home. The ground was very tacky between the fences at Aintree (last time out) and I know some people say I’m making excuses, but it’s a race that didn’t happen for us.
“We will push it under the carpet and he has come out of it great. So we will take our chances.”
Archie Watson is better known for his exploits on the Flat, but Juge Et Parti enhanced his healthy strike-rate at the course when bouncing back to form to land the British Racing School Handicap Hurdle by five lengths.
The Lambourn handler said of the 14-1 shot: “I’ve actually got a very good strike-rate here. Bazarov, Premier D’troice and this lad have won here.
“He has been through a lot this horse. He had a fractured tooth which then ended up developing a big sinus infection. He has come out of it well and it his first run since.
“He obviously had an almighty headache which we have relieved and he has come up and won it well. Brodie (Hampson) has given him a great ride.”
Niall Houlihan equalled his best-ever seasonal total of seven winners aboard the Gary Moore-trained Gorham’s Cave (9-2), who claimed the Fakenham Skips Supporting EACH and RBL Handicap Hurdle by nine and a half lengths.
Houlihan, deputising for Josh Moore, said: “It was probably too commanding (how far he won). I didn’t realise how far clear I was until I got to the last hurdle.
“He really enjoyed it around there today. His hurdling improved throughout the trip. He is a very athletic horse and has taken to it well.”
Useful Flat stayer Diocletian (100-30) gave Classic-winning handler Andrew Balding his first winner at the track when prevailing by 10 lengths in the Christmas Holidays Maiden Hurdle.
Winning jockey Page Fuller said: “That is definitely the most mature he has been over hurdles. He settled well and you could ride a race on him today.
“He had four nice horses in front of him at Newbury last time and I’d like to think off the back of that run he can go on to bigger and better things.”
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