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FAKENHAM TREBLE TAKES GINA FOUR CLEAR

Gina Andrews’s quest to regain the National Point-To-Point Jockeys Championship she won in the 2010-2011 season received a boost at Fakenham on Sunday when she rode three winners at the West Norfolk meeting.

The treble strike – aboard Smiths Hill, See You Jack and Condorman -  took Andrews, who hails from Lilley in Hertfordshire, onto the 18-winner mark for the season, four clear of her closest rival, Hannah Watson.

All three victories were achieved via employment of the front-running tactics that are regularly successful on this tight course. But whereas Smiths Hill, in the Club Members Race (pictured above), and See You Jack, in the Ladies Open, were comfortable scorers, the triumph of Condorman in the closing Maiden owed plenty to dynamic jockeyship.

Trained at Chediston in Suffolk by John Ibbott, Condorman had shown little in ten previous career starts and looked set for another defeat when Mister Serious went past after the second last fence. But he rallied gamely up the run-in to prevail by half a length.

Smiths Hill jumped more fluently than his main rivals and had more in hand than the winning margin of four lengths would suggest while See You Jack, who is trained at Wymondham by Sandra Fryer, won in just the kind of style you would expect from a 5-2 on favourite.

This was a deserved victory for this ten-year-old gelding as he has been a model of toughness and consistency for his owners, Mark and Ali Flinton, from near Eye, winning three and being placed in his other four outings over a hectic period covering little more than three months.

The best quality race of the day was the Mens Open and saw a fourth consecutive victory for Patsy Finnegan, an admirable veteran who has struck up a fine partnership with jockey Archie Wright, from Badlingham, near Newmarket.

The bookies expected his purple patch to be brought to an end by Master Workman, but David Kemp’s recent hunter chase hero was readily kept at bay once Patsy Finnegan went past him jumping the penultimate obstacle.

Trainer-rider Kemp, from Croxton, near Thetford, suffered another reverse when Cathedral Of Pines could managed only third place in the Maiden. But he has been enjoying a fine campaign and kept up the good work this weekend, first when Cheyanwe landed the four-mile feature race at Kingston Blount in Oxfordshire on Saturday and then on Sunday when Caulkin won the West Norfolk Hunt Race for the second time in three years.

Baltic Blue, trained in Hertfordshire by Brian Dowling, is becoming something of a Fakenham specialist. He took his record at this venue to two wins and a second from three attempts when beating Haughtons Bridge by a length and a half with another Kemp representative, Hill Of Gold, the same margin back in third in a closely-fought Restricted Race.

The National Website can be found at: www.pointtopoint.co.uk

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