Lorcan Williams and Page Fuller have suspensions quashed

Lorcan Williams and Page Fuller have had the suspensions that followed a verbal altercation after a race at Newbury last week quashed.

The pair appealed against the four-day bans they received from the stewards as a result of their finger-pointing argument as the horses came back in following a conditional jockeys’ handicap hurdle on Friday. Fuller had won the race on Our Dot’s Baby, while Williams was unplaced on Confirmation Bias.

In its ruling on Thursday, the British Horseracing Authority’s independent disciplinary panel found the jockeys’ behaviour was improper and breached the rules of racing, but in part upheld their appeal and reduced their bans to cautions in both cases.

Speaking at Doncaster on Saturday, Williams said: “We’re sports people and things do get heated. It happens in football and rugby all the time. Me and Page, as soon as we went back into the weighing room, we both apologised and things were done and dusted.

“We said we’d put it behind us. We’re both competitive people or else we wouldn’t be doing what we’re doing. These things happen.”

The Professional Jockeys Association welcomed the outcome, with chief executive Paul Struthers saying: “This was an incident that wouldn’t even attract a yellow card in other sports and many people enjoyed seeing jockeys showing emotion and passion.”

Festival may beckon Anythingforlove and Fuller after Sandown triumph

Page Fuller may be reaching for the stars at the Cheltenham Festival after landing her first Graded race success on Anythingforlove in the Jane Seymour Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at Sandown.

Described by winning trainer Jamie Snowden as “an integral part of my team”, Fuller came in for the ride on the 18-1 shot only because Gavin Sheehan was in action at Fontwell.

She made the very best of the opportunity, though, as Anythingforlove beat Sandymount Rose by two and three-quarter lengths, for a Grade Two success which may extend their association in next month’s Dawn Run Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle.

Fuller, who is enjoying a stellar season after riding out her claim in October, said: “That meant so much to me – a first winner at this level and a lovely mare for her owners.

“I knew she had every chance and was delighted when Gavin had to go to Fontwell.

“It was really hard work, and I had to assume she was going to stay. She heard the others coming, and wasn’t going to be passed.

“Winners like her show we have the quality in the yard – and while Gavin’s the number one, I am so lucky to get chances like this.”

Snowden said of the winner: “She used to be a bit novicey, and we rode her wrong in the Rossington Main.

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“Over this trip she found it easier, because they were going a tad slower. I would certainly take a look at the Dawn Run – and especially if it was heavy.”

Nick Gifford’s dream of winning the race run here in April in memory of his late father Josh came a step closer with the 5-1 success of Belargus, under Niall Houlihan.

The six-year-old’s resounding nine-length triumph over Grey Diamond in the Elmbridge Handicap Chase has teed him up for what Gifford sees as “limitless options”.

Some of those will be at Cheltenham, or possibly Aintree, but the Sussex trainer hopes owner JP McManus may consider the Josh Gifford Memorial Handicap Chase in April back at Sandown.

“I’ve always loved this horse,” said Gifford.

“He got done for toe at Warwick, and this is the first time he’s got his jumping together. I could see him going up in trip, and he’ll definitely get two and a half miles on good ground.

“He’s going to be under consideration with a whole lot of others (owned by McManus) for the Grand Annual and Brown Advisory Plate – while the Topham is a lovely race for him (as well).

Niall Houlihan and Belargus clear the last to win the Elmbridge Handicap Chase at Sandown
Niall Houlihan and Belargus clear the last to win the Elmbridge Handicap Chase at Sandown (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“But the one I’d love to win is the Josh Gifford Memorial – which I came close to winning with Christopher Wren (for McManus seven years ago).

“Realistically we are a tiny cog in the wheel, but romantically I would dearly love to bring him back here.”

Emma Lavelle believes she has an exciting prospect for fences next season in Red Rookie, who cashed in on the final-flight mistake of market rival Pipesmoker to land the Telegraph Hill ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle.

The 5-2 winner eventually prevailed by almost two lengths under Tom Bellamy, from outsider Mister Watson, with favourite Pipesmoker having to settle for third.

Lavelle said: “We love this horse and have felt that since he won two bumpers – but when I took the rug off him at Lingfield (in October) I could see he was fat.

“He came there two out only to weaken through lack of fitness, and then he was poorly.

Red Rookie (middle) was only third over the last but a clear-cut winner in the end of the Telegraph Hill ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle at Sandown
Red Rookie (middle) was only third over the last but a clear-cut winner in the end of the Telegraph Hill ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle at Sandown (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“After that it took a long time to get him back, but he certainly is now. I was delighted at the way he jumped and travelled on that ground, and can’t wait to go chasing with him next season.”

Lavelle and Bellamy completed a quick double when 5-2 favourite Eclair Surf won the following Littleworth Handicap Chase by three lengths.

David Pipe’s team is in form – and following Umbrigado’s triumph at Wetherby the previous day, Eamon An Cnoic made no mistake in the opening Greenwich Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle.

The 100-30 chance came home 20 lengths clear of Will Sting under Fergus Gillard, who said: “My horse travelled really well. He got tired but at the same time won nicely.”

Dan and Harry Skelton combined to land the Kingston Handicap Chase with 11-4 shot No Getaway – who stretched nine-and-a-half lengths clear of Doitforthevillage, with favourite Mister Murchan back in third.

Tributes paid to Zoe Davison on emotional day at Plumpton

Tributes were paid to Zoe Davison on Sunday as the trainer lost her long battle with cancer on the day her family-run yard registered a double at Plumpton.

Brown Bullet and Mr Jack were the poignant winners before Davison, 60, sadly died at her Shovelstrode Racing Stables in East Grinstead, Sussex.

Her husband Andrew Irvine – whom she married in 2018 – was by her side, with her family around her. The couple have two teenage daughters, Charlotte and Harriette.

He said: “She was the most wonderful, incredible person. I am blessed to have spent the last 24 years of my life with her.”

Gemelle Johnson, assistant to her mother, who has another daughter, Georgie, said: “I just feel a bit numb inside because of everything.

Mr Jack made it a poignant double for the Zoe Davison yard under James Davies
Mr Jack made it a poignant double for the Zoe Davison yard under James Davies (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“I’m a bit overwhelmed we’ve had a double for mum. Hopefully we have made her proud. It’s surreal.

“Our team is a family business and we put everything into it. She will be thoroughly missed as she is the glue that holds us together.

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“We’ve had a few winners around here and it is one of our local tracks. It means everything to us as we want to do her proud.”

Jockey Page Fuller has a long association with the stable and should have ridden Mr Jack, but had been stood down from an earlier fall.

She said: “You couldn’t have written it any better today. She was just a kind and genuine person who was a real horsewoman. She loved her horses and did her best by them.

“She has been struggling for a long time, but fortunately her strength has rubbed off on to everybody else and they showed that by sending out the winners today.

“It has been a great team effort and it is great she has gone out like that. I don’t know anybody who would have a bad word to say about her – she was just one of those really nice people.”

For all the success that Fuller, who joined Davison just before turning professional in 2018, enjoyed with the Sussex handler, it is her association with stable stalwart Finnegan’s Garden she is most proud of.

She said: “Zoe was a real key supporter of mine just as I was turning professional. She has been very influential on my career and many other jockeys.

“We had lots of good days together, but I suppose Finnegan’s Garden is the one we had some of our best days together with.

“We have won six races together around the likes of Plumpton, Lingfield and Fontwell, including a double at Plumpton in April 2019 with Brother Bennett.

“She will be sadly missed by everyone, but I’m sure the team will continue to do her proud.”

Simon Clare, close friend and part-owner of Brown Bullet, hailed Davison, who sent out her first winner, Sails Legend, at Towcester in November 1997 and enjoyed her best season with 15 winners in the 2017/18 campaign, a “fantastic person and horsewoman”.

He said: “Zoe was just the most wonderful human being imaginable; kind, generous, ludicrously hard-working, single-minded and stubborn when she wanted to be, and the very best fun to be around.

The James Best-ridden Brown Bullet was the first leg of the Zoe Davison team's double at Plumpton
The James Best-ridden Brown Bullet was the first leg of the Zoe Davison team’s double at Plumpton (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“What she didn’t know about horses wasn’t worth knowing. She was quite brilliant with them

“It was so desperately unfair for Zoe that after beating breast cancer nearly two decades ago, it returned four and a half years ago.

“The bravery and positivity that she has displayed in her battle against this awful disease has been an inspiration to everyone around her.

“The fact this battle coincided with her most successful period as a racehorse trainer was testimony to her amazing work ethic, and commitment to her horses.

“She was so incredibly well loved and will be desperately missed by everyone who knew her.”

Bryony Frost warms up for Frodon date with Fakenham winner

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.

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“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.”