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Red-letter day for jockey

PUBLISHED: 11:53 16 April 2009 | UPDATED: 14:59 14 July 2010

Richard Stearn in winning form on Bonne Noel's at Fakenham.

Richard Stearn in winning form on Bonne Noel's at Fakenham.

Wymondham jockey Rupert Stearn had a day to remember at Fakenham Races on Monday.

He rode two winners at the seven-race meeting.

Stearn opened his account with the surprise win on outsider Bonne Noel's in the Hood Vores and Allwood Novices Chase.

Wymondham jockey Rupert Stearn had a day to remember at Fakenham Races on Monday.

He rode two winners at the seven-race meeting.

Stearn opened his account with the surprise win on outsider Bonne Noel's in the Hood Vores and Allwood Novices Chase.

He completed his double in front of a good-sized Bank Holiday crowd on board 7-4 second favourite Coat of Honour in the Queen's Cup Hunter's Chase.

When Ron Mills bought his first racehorse Bonne Noel's at auction in November last year it was a bit of a punt.

He got her for a steal at £2,800 at Ascot with the plan of using his skills as a professional physiotherapist for greyhounds to bring him back to racing form at stables near Bury St Edmunds.

At Fakenham, Bonne Noel's left Wymondham-trained favourite Go North in the dust.

Stearn and Bonne romped home on the 14/1 outsider to win the 2.40pm novices' hunters' steeple chase. In a twist of fate, Bonne's trainer, James Owen, failed to finish the race on the favourite, Go North, after hitting a ditch.

However, after the race Owen said he was pleased with the win, despite not finishing on his horse, trained by Norfolk-based champion rider Nigel Bloom.

It was his first win as a trainer under rules - meaning not as an amateur. He said: “It is Ron's first horse. He bought him to treat because he had jumping problems. He treats him with his Zamar machine, an ice-therapy machine.”

Mills, who co-owns the horse with Christine Cusselle from their base at Wickhambrook, was also very pleased with the win.

For rider Stearn it was his latest in a string of wins and also his first win under rules. He said he was thrilled to have won, especially on what was an outsider. “It was unexpected. It was a 14/1 outsider of five. James could have ridden him but he chose to ride Go North.”

His second win saw him come first in the Queen's Cup amateur race, for East Anglian entries only, on Coat of Honour, trained at Wretham by Robert Abrey.

The jockey's colours on Bonne Noel's were chosen after Miss Cusselle's father, Joe Cusselle, a Chelsea Pensioner, who was unable to make the race due to health reasons.

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