Perfect start for Final Nudge

A review of Tuesday's action at Fakenham as Final Nudge made a winning start over fences.

Final Nudge (right): Fakenham winner

Final Nudge made a winning start over fences as he repelled the late challenge of Join The Clan to lift the Weatherbys Racing Diaries Beginners' Chase at Fakenham.

David Dennis' charge was sent off the 6-5 favourite after posting some excellent efforts over hurdles last term, including when beaten just a length and a half by subsequent Albert Bartlett winner Unowhatimeanharry in a Cheltenham Grade Two event.

The seven-year-old travelled well throughout in the hands of Adrian Heskin, with Prince Of Steal setting a decent gallop before he crashed out at the final fence, leaving Final Nudge and Join The Clan to battle it out.

While the latter tried his best to get his nose in front, Final Nudge kept finding a little bit more to cling on by a neck at the line, giving Irish ace Heskin his first winner at the Norfolk track from his first attempt.

Dennis said: "I'm very pleased with that, it's nice to see him win on his chasing debut.

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"Fakenham is a tricky enough track in my opinion, but there was a good prize-money and it looked a good opportunity.

"The second is no slouch and the horse that fell at the last went a good pace, so it was a good test."

Looking to future plans, Dennis added: "We'll keep our options open with him now and see what rating he gets.

"I'd hope it wouldn't be higher than his hurdles mark (137), but we'll see what happens and we could look for another novice under a penalty or a novice handicap chase.

"He has some good form in the book, but it's always nice to see them do it on the track."

The Weatherbys Stallion Book Mares' Handicap Chase also resulted in a tight finish as Queen Spud (15-8 favourite) just edged in front of Dawnieriver on the line.

The pair had the race to themselves from some way out but it was the Henry Daly-trained Queen Spud who found most on the run in to get up by half a length for Tom O'Brien, who was completing a double after scoring aboard Taroum (2-1 favourite) in the ROA Gold Standard Award To Fakenham Selling Handicap Hurdle.

Lift The Lid easily accounted for fellow 11-4 joint-favourite Skylark Lady in the Bet With Dan Hague Novices' Handicap Hurdle, with trainer Neil Mulholland and jockey Noel Fehily going on to double up with Prettylittlething (5-6 favourite) in the At The Races Mares' Handicap Hurdle.

Amy Murphy enjoyed a red-letter day in her fledgling training career as Mercian King (9-4) became her first winner under Rules in the Collect totepool Winnings At Betfred Shops Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Chase.

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