Bargain-buy Militarian is starting to look like money well spent after he provided trainer Andrew Martin with his first winner at Fakenham in the Sky Sports Racing Launching January 1st Handicap Chase.
Picked up for just £600 at the Ascot October Mixed Sale in 2015, the eight-year-old backed up his victory at Taunton under the Chipping Norton handler’s son, James, when repelling the late challenge of Forth Bridge by three-quarters of a length.
Martin senior said: “It was probably an oversight not to put a reserve on the horse – I was just in the right place at the right time.”
On the 7-2 winner, he added: “It was just such a buzz watching my lad riding so well, as he works hard at it. We’ve been unlucky here in the past with a couple, so it’s nice to get a winner.
“We will not be rushing back with him. We will just play it by ear and find the right race for him.”
Three-times champion jockey Richard Johnson was forced to wait for winner number 150 of the campaign after The Very Thing was demoted to second behind Working Class (11-2) in the Download The Free At The Races App Handicap Hurdle.
Winning jockey Harrison Beswick said: “I had every reason to get the win and also not to get it, but I am very happy with the stewards’ decision.
“Regardless of the result I was delighted with the performance of the horse – win, lose or draw – as he has been a head-scratcher this season.”
There was a further sting in the tail for Johnson as he picked up a two-day ban for careless riding, while Jamie Moore was also given a two-day ban for the same offence on third-placed Stormingin.
It was a day a mixed fortunes for Johnson, who before falling foul of the stewards had earlier steered the Olly Murphy-trained Todd (9-4 joint-favourite) to glory by half a length in the Ketton Folk On Tour Handicap Hurdle.
Murphy said: “How I’ve not stepped him up to this extended two-mile-seven trip before is a trainer error. He has flown home over two and a half miles here on his last couple of runs. It is good for my racing club to get a winner near Christmas.”
Martin Keighley was at a loss to remember the last time he visited the Norfolk track – he may do so more often after Chequered View (5-2) carried the silks of the Princess Royal to glory in the Buy Fakenham 2019 Annual Membership Novices’ Handicap Chase.
The Luckley handler said following the five-year-old’s length-and-a-quarter success: “I can’t remember the last time I was here it has been that long!
“The Princess was keen to go over fences, as she was a good jumper over hurdles, so we thought we would try it this season instead of next season.
“Taking the hood off and the switch to fences has done the job.”
Stuart Edmunds enjoys a healthy strike-rate at the track and A Little Chaos helped maintain that with a seven-length success in the Your Ultimate Jumps Guide attheraces.com/Jumps Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle.
The Newport Pagnell handler said of the 9-1 winner: “She ran very well the first day at Ludlow, then very flat the last day. She came back to herself last week. This was a nice race for her, plus I like coming to Fakenham.”