All posts by David Hunter

Racing Report from Tuesday 30th March


Jubilant winning jockey Jack Quinlan praised Fakenham racecourse after landing the feature race on the Lucy Wadham trained Potters Legend.

There were just four runners in the David Keith Memorial Chase worth almost £25,000, won by the 10/11 favourite, who jumped all 18 fences superbly.

“It’s a really good prize. Fakenham does well to put up such good prize money and it’s a shame they are not rewarded with more runners. But I was a beneficiary of that today so I’m not complaining,” said Quinlan.

“It’s great for Mrs May, the owner, because she has missed seeing her horses run. This one is a home-bred so makes the victory even sweeter,” he added.

“Potters Legend deserves this as he has been running long distances on heavy ground all winter,” he added.

Mr Jack returned to Fakenham less than a fortnight after winning at the course, and did it again, beating Voodoo Doll in a tight finish to the Aldiss Furnishing Stores Hurdle.

Trained by Andy Irvine and ridden by Niall Houlihan, the gelding made it four wins from five starts, returned 11/8 favourite.

There was a shock in the Snellings Norfolk National Raceday Conditional Jockeys’ Chase, when 13-year-old outsider, Red Inca, stormed home at 22/1.

Ridden by Fergus Gregory and trained by Alan Phillips, Red Inca had chalked up a first success at Southwell in September, and bounded along on perfect going to score by  two lengths.

Glimpse of Gold proved another tricky winner for punters to find when taking the Cecil and Sheila Buttifant Memorial Hurdle at 18/1.

Sarah Humphrey’s 10-year-old thrives at Fakenham, where he won in October, and Alexander Thorne gave him a positive ride. Favourite Reverend Jacobs was upsides at the last but Thorne urged home the eventually winner.

The opening Bruce Towers and Sons Heating Plumbing Novices Hurdle went to   impressive 8/13 favourite Torn and Frayed. The Hereford winner, trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies and ridden by son Sam, led from the start for a facile success by 20 lengths from Take Your Time, whose jumping was much inferior to the winner’s.

Trainer and rider Dale Peters celebrated landing the Queen’s Cup Hunters’ Chase on 13/8 chance Peacocks Secret before the finale, the Fisher Electrical Contractor Mare’s bumper, went to Derby winning trainer Michael Bell’s debutant, Heartbreaker, ridden by Harry Cobden and returned at 9/4.

Declared Runners for Tuesday 30th March


Beau Bay, winner of the Sefton Chase over Aintree’s Grand National fences in December, tackles the obstacles at Fakenham on Tuesday as he bids to win a second race in the Veterans’ Handicap Chase Series.

Trained by Dr Richard Newland, with Charlie Hammond riding, the 10-year-old scored at Doncaster in leg two of the series. The 4.30pm feature on Tuesday, the David Keith Memorial Chase, is leg six.

Main rivals for the £25,000 contest are the Lucy Wadham trained Potters Legend and Gary Moore’s Antony. The former last won in November at Warwick and then finished sixth in Haydock’s Grand National Trial.

Antony pulled up at Fontwell in December after twice finishing a runner-up, at Warwick and Chepstow.

Biggest field of the day sees eight go in the 4pm Aldiss Furnishing Stories Hurdle in which Mr Jack is the likely favourite.

The Andy Irvine trained nine-year-old has won three of his last four contests, including at Fakenham, at the most recent meeting on March 19.

Another recent winner, at Plumpton a fortnight ago, is Runasimi River and Ben Jones takes the ride on Neil Mulholland’s mare while Sopat, a winner at Fakenham in January, returns to north Norfolk for trainer Phil Middleton and jockey, Kielan Woods.

Sam Twiston-Davies could be the man to follow earlier in the day. He rides Torn and Frayed for his father Nigel in the opening 2.15pm Easter Novices’ Hurdle, the gelding a Kelso runner-up following a Hereford success.

Main rival could be Harry Cobden on Paul Nicholls’ Take Your Time, pulled up in heavy ground last time after finishing third at Wincanton.

Twiston-Davies then partners Irish Odyssey for Mulholland in the 3.25pm Cecil and Sheila Buttifant Memorial Hurdle, the grey gelding runner-up at Sedgefield earlier this month.

Reverend Jacobs, a Wetherby winner last week for Nick Kent, and Good Bye, under Kevin Jones for Milton Harris, look the main rivals.

Court Jurado won at Fakenham at the end of November and returns for the 2.50pm Conditional Jockeys’ Chase having been midfield on his return at Lingfield after a 63-day absence.

Five hunter chasers contest the Queen’s Cup at 5pm with David Maxwell on Monsieur Gibraltar, a point winner in January after victories at Fontwell, Kempton and Southwell.

The finale, the 5.30pm Jarrold Ladies Day May 31 bumper, sees David Bass on Barry Brennan’s Guidedbythescience, third at Hereford in December while two interesting debutants are Michael Bell’s Heartbreaker and Tom George’s Miss Chantelle.

Preview of entries for Tuesday 30th March Race Meeting


Veterans will be the in the spotlight when Fakenham stages a seven-race card on Tuesday (March 30).

The David Keith Memorial Handicap Chase is leg six of the veterans’ handicap chase series and is the feature £25,000 contest of the day, off at 4.30pm.

Eight entries have been received, including the Dr Richard Newland trained Beau Bay, winner of leg two of the series at Doncaster. The 10-year-old then went on to the Cheltenham Festival, being pulled up in the Kim Muir Chase.

Lucy Wadham’s Potters Legend and Philip Hobbs’ Gala Ball are also entered, the 11-year-old’s last victory being at Wincanton more than a year ago.

The Easter Novices’ Hurdle starts proceedings at 2.15pm and has 11 entries including No Fame No Game. The mare was second at Clonmel, in her last run for trainer Gerard Kelleher before switching to Alexandra Dunn’s stable.

Paul Nicholls has entered Skatman, a winner on hurdles debut at Musselburgh, while Uttoxeter winner No Risk Des Flos, a grey gelding, goes for Olly Murphy.

There are eight entries for the 2.50pm Snellings Norfolk National Raceday May 4th Conditional Jockeys’ Chase including Gary Moore’s Episode, the mare a runner-up at Fakenham just before Christmas. Also in the line-up could be John Cornwall’s Torrent Des Mottes, a Huntingdon winner this week.

The two-mile Cecil and Sheila Buttifant Memorial Handicap Hurdle at 3.25pm has attracted 14 entries with David Jeffreys’ Ben Brody, a winner of two of four recent chases, reverting to the smaller obstacles.

Irish Odyssey for Neil Mulholland was a Sedgefield runner-up earlier this month and is entered along with Nick Kent’s Reverend Jacobs, a Wetherby scorer this week, his first success in 10 attempts.

Two who finished first and third in a recent Plumpton contest are entered for the 4pm The Aldiss Furnishing Stores Senior Handicap Hurdle in the shape of Mulholland’s Runasimi River and Gary Moore’s earlier Exeter winner, Ruby Yeats.

Just Cause, winner of four point-to-points, two at Higham and at Ampton and Cottenham, is entered in the Queen’s Cup Open Hunters’ Chase at 5pm along with Trio For Rio, a Ludlow scorer under rules last week.

The 5.30pm finale has 13 entries for the Jarrold Ladies Day Sunday, May 31 Mares’ Maiden National Hunt Flat Race, including debutants Marmalaid, a grey filly trained by Nicky Henderson, and Heartbreaker, trained by Michael Bell.

Racing Report from Friday 19th March


Champion jockey Brian Hughes rode for Peterborough trainer Pam Sly for the first time in his long career and duly landed Fakenham’s Silver Cup.

Hughes, moving nine winners clear at the top of the championship, scored on Sly’s Xcitations and was emotional after the race.

“I want to dedicate that to my wife’s grandad who passed away this morning,” said Hughes, who never had a worry in steering the 10/3 shot home by three lengths.

“He’s a very good horse and is clearly on the way up,” added Hughes, whose mount was returning after a 98-day break.

Hughes was quick to point out that he had won the same Silver Cup race 12 years earlier, on Joe Jo’s Star.

Hughes went on to complete a double when Ennistown took the Robert Hoare Memorial Hunters’ Chase in which only three finished, headed by the 7/4 chance.

Jack Tudor produced a superb ride to take the Prince Carlton Chase on the Christian Williams’ trained Defuture Is Bright.

One More Fleurie, bidding for a hat-trick of victories, looked the winner until he crashed out four fences from the finish.

That left Smuggler’s Blues in front with three to jump. But Tudor never gave up on the Williams’ gelding and Defuture Is Bright pulled way to score at 2/1.

“He handled the tight track well and was tough. The cheekpieces may have sharpened him up a bit but he did it well,” said Tudor, whose mount had previously won at Warwick and been second at Southwell.

The Walter Wales Memorial Hurdle was a further success for the consistent Mr Jack, trained by Andy Irvine and ridden by Niall Houlihan.

Already twice a winner this year, the nine-year-old took it up two out and held off Lostnfound to win by a length, returned 3/1 favourite.

The Shereford Chase was packed with drama. On the first circuit, Zee Man fell and brought down Magic River while Annie Day unseated her rider.

Eventual winner was 9/1 shot Sackett under Max Kendrick for trainer Neil King. The gelding had pulled up in three previous starts but battled on to beat Manofthemoment.

Olympic Conqueror, third in his two previous starts, struck gold for jockey Charlie Hammond and trainer Dr Richard Newland, taking the Robert Case Memorial Maiden Hurdle.

When favourite Touchthesoul faded two flights from home, 100/30 chance Olympic Conqueror pushed on and scored from Yauthym.

Ballyellis overcame a break of more than a year to land the opening Country Food Trust Claiming Hurdle under Jordan Nailor for trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies.

Favourite Ferrobin came to grief three flights out before Ballyellis got the better of McGroarty to win at 7/2.

Declared Runners for Friday 19th March


The racing world’s eyes will be on Cheltenham and the Gold Cup this afternoon (Friday) but in Norfolk it is the Country Food Trust Fakenham Silver Cup which is the highlight.

There will no members of the public at the fixture at the north Norfolk track, but the racing will nevertheless be competitive, especially for the Silver Cup, a two-mile race over hurdles worth more than £19,000.

There are 11 declared for the 4.05pm feature in which reigning champion jockey Brian Hughes rides Xcitations, trained near Peterborough by Pam Sly. The six-year-old gelding was a disappointing seventh last time at Doncaster following an earlier Huntingdon victory.

Among rivals are Shantung and Floating Rock. The former is trained in Newmarket by Lucy Wadham and is familiar with the course, having won there at the end of January having been runner-up three weeks earlier.

Floating Rock, trained by Mark Walford, is an interesting contender. The gelding won his last two hurdle races at Sedgefield and Stratford at the end of 2020 and has since had two runs on the all-weather at Southwell and Newcastle.

The meeting’s opener at 1.10pm is the Country Food Trust Claiming Hurdle which looks like a contest between Ferrobin and Ballyellis. The former, under William Marshall for Max Young, won at Market Rasen in December while the Nigel Twiston-Davies trained Ballyellis, under Jordan Nailor, was third at Ludlow in January.

Yauthym, under Liam Harrison for Fergal O’Brien, is out for compensation in the 1.45pm Robert Case Memorial Maiden Hurdle, having fallen last time at Southwell after earlier finishing second at Fakenham. Olympic Conqueror looks his main rival, having been third last time at Ludlow.

First chase is the 2.20pm Shereford Chase in which Zee Man is another looking to return after a fall last time. Callum McKinnes rides for Olly Murphy on a gelding who won at Fakenham in January.

Nine line-up at 2.55pm for the Walter Wales Memorial Hurdle. Tom Bellamy rides Neil King’s Cheng Gong, a Taunton winner a fortnight ago while Jonathan Burke partners Pat Murphy’s Galtee Mountain, a Fontwell winner last week. Hughes rides David Loughnane’s Manjaam.

The Prince Carlton Chase at 3.30pm looks good for One More Fleurie for Ian Williams. The seven-year-old scored at Doncaster earlier this month. Smuggler’s Blues and Christian Williams’ Defuture Is Bright look dangers.

Seven go in the three-mile Robert Hoare Memorial Hunters’ Chase at 4.40pm which closes the card, including Chapelier and Popelys Gull, fourth and third respectively in a similar Fakenham contest a month ago.

Preview of Entries for Friday 19th March Race Meeting


The Cheltenham Gold Cup, the blue riband of the jump racing season takes place on Friday, but local National Hunt fans will have their eyes on Fakenham’s very own Silver Cup the same afternoon.

Initial entries number 26 for the Country Food Trust Fakenham Silver Cup, a hurdle contest over two miles worth more than £19,000.

Several last time out winners have been entered for the 4.05pm race. They include Floating Rock. The six-year-old from Mark Walford’s stable has Jamie Hamilton booked to ride, the gelding having won two recent flat races on the all weather at Southwell and Newcastle. Prior to that, Floating Rock scored over hurdles at Sedgefield and Stratford.

Fairway Freddy from Nick Gifford’s yard is a recent Plumpton scorer; John Quinn’s First Impression won at Wetherby last time, Ginistrelli for Olly Murphy won last week at Doncaster and Lucy Wadham’s Martello Sky, loves Fakenham.

Martello Sky won at Market Rasen in February, having earlier triumphed over course and distance at Fakenham’s pre-Christmas meeting.

The seven-race card starts with the 1.10pm Country Foods Trust Claiming Hurdle which sees both Falberto and Ferrobin entered. They met at Market Rasen in December with Max Young’s Ferrobin getting the better of Jake Coulson’s second-placed six-year-old.

There are 20 entries for the 1.45pm Robert Case Memorial Conditional Jockeys’ Maiden Hurdle with Fergal O’Brien’s Yauthym looking to make up for a fall at Southwell in February. The five-year-old had previously been a Fakenham runner-up.

The first chase of the day is the Shereford Chase at 2.20pm in which Henry Brooke has been booked for Oliver Greenall’s Furius De Ciergues, a recent Sedgefield scorer. Game Line, for Peter Bowen, a recent Carlisle winner, and Evan Williams’ Oxwich Bay, successful at Sedgefield last week, are also entered.

Nick King’s Cheng Gong, a Taunton winner earlier this month, is one of 18 entries for the 2.55pm Walter Wales Memorial Hurdle along with Pat Murphy’s Galtee Mountain, Neil Mulholland’s Mongol Emperor and Wadham’s Shangtung.

At 3.30pm the Prince Carlton Chase honours one of Fakenham’s iconic previous multi-times winners and 14 are entered for the three-miler, including One More Fleurie from Ian Williams’ stable. The seven-year-old won at Doncaster a fortnight ago having earlier scored at Warwick.

The 4.40pm finale is the Robert Hoare Memorial Open Hunters’ Chase over three miles and among entries are veterans Henri Parry Morgan, Mercers Court, Gold Opera and Straidnahanna.

Racing Report from Friday 19th February


Jockey Adam Wedge was the hat-trick hero at Fakenham when taking the £16,000 Tim Barclay Memorial Chase on the Laura Morgan trained Fire Away.

An easy winner at Musselburgh 12 days ago, the bottom weight used every pound to his advantage to get the better of Admiral Barratry, returned at 4/5.

“It was up for grabs at the last. Both horses picked up well and mine did enough,” said Wedge. “It’s nice to have a winner for Laura. I’ve known her a long time and her horses are in cracking form,” he added.

Fire Away beat Admiral Barratry, Bryony Frost’s only ride of the day, the winner of the King’s Lynn Chase at the last meeting, with Risk and Roll third.

Earlier Wedge had ridden Shang Tang to beat the Nicky Henderson trained Captain Morgs in the EBF Novice Hurdle. In-form trainer Emma Lavelle’s 15/8 chance was perfectly produced by Wedge to take it up before the last and ran out a comfortable five-length winner.

“He did nothing wrong last time at Doncaster but didn’t see out the three miles. The shorter distance suited today and he did it well,” said Wedge.

The jockey went on to complete a hat-trick, and a double for Morgan, when debutant Dom Perry won the finale, the bumper, over two miles, at 11/2.

There was no hiding place in the Sculthorpe Novice Chase which went to the 13/8 favourite Kap Auteuil under Tom Cannon for Toby Lawes.

The leaders went off at a fierce pace for the soft conditions and only three completed the two miles. Kap Auteuil, a recent Plumpton runner-up, won by 19 lengths from Khanisari and Cagliostro.

The Helhoughton Novice Hurdle went to the Seamus Mullins trained Moroder who saw off Winds of Fire in a contest that saw just three complete the trip.

Kevin Jones took it up on Moroder before the final bend and held on by two lengths to score at 4/1 for only the second career success for the gelding.

With a circuit to go in the two-mile Holt Selling Hurdle, Kingston Mimosa looked beaten. But jockey Charlie Todd persevered and cruised home on the bottom weight to win at 4/1 with outsider Top Beak second.

Dubai Quest’s William Bulwer Long Hunter Chase victory owed much to Bridget Andrews who managed to stay on board when the 5/4 favourite, trained by her brother-in-law Tom Ellis, made a serious mistake before the final circuit.


Declared Runners for Friday 19th February Race Meeting


All eyes will be on Bryony Frost as she tries to continue her cracking form at Fakenham on Friday (Feb 19) when she partners Admiral Barratry in the £16,000 feature, the Tim Barclay Memorial Handicap Chase at 3.42pm.

Frost teamed up with the eight-year-old gelding, trained at Newmarket by Lucy Wadham, at the last Fakenham meeting when landing the King’s Lynn Chase.

Admiral Barratry is Frost’s only ride on the seven-race card on which the feature has attracted 10 runners.

Premiumaccess under Harry Cobden for Colin Tizzard was a Wincanton runner-up in January after a Huntingdon success while Risk and Roll goes for jockey Stan and his father, trainer Matt, Sheppard. The gelding won his last two starts, both Hunter Chases, at Stratford and Leicester.

The Dubai Wing, under Harry Bannister for Charlie Mann, is a nine-year-old who pulled up last time at Ludlow following placings at Sandown and Fontwell at the turn of the year.

The Sheppards could have a good day. In the 2.12pm Holt Selling Hurdle they run All Good Things, runner-up at Ffos Las following victory at Bangor. Chief rival looks like the Andy Irvine trained Devious Dicks Dame under James Davies. The mare won at Plumpton in November.

The 2.42pm Sculthorpe Novice Chase sees the Sheppards run Organised Solutions, the seven-year-old having had wind surgery since winning a point-to-point. Kap Auteuil is the main threat, Toby Lawes’ six-year-old a Plumpton runner-up in January.

Opening contest at 1.42pm is the Helhoughton Novice Hurdle in which Hereford runner-up Winds of Fire, a recent Sedgefield scorer, goes for Evan Williams under Adam Wedge. Main opposition looks like Blame The Game, an Ascot runner-up in December for Chris Gordon.

There are only four declared for the 3.12pm novice hurdle and two horses from top stables could fight out the finish. Captain Morgs sees Nico de Boinville in the saddle for trainer Nicky Henderson on a gelding runner-up at Kempton in November after an Ascot success.

David Pipe has a fine record in north Norfolk and has Tom Scudamore on board Gericault Rogue, a Plumpton scorer in January on his first run after a wind operation.

Nine go in the William Bulwer Long Memorial Hunter Chase at 4.15pm in which Bridget Andrews rides Dubai Quest, trained by her brother-in-law Tom Ellis, while the finale is the six-runner Fakenham Maiden bumper at 4.45pm, in which Barrowmount is favourite for Kevin Jones and trainer Seamus Mullins, having finished third at Fontwell last time.

Preview of entries for Friday, February 19th Race Meeting


Newmarket trainer Lucy Wadham’s Admiral Barratry, a winner at the last meeting at Fakenham, is one of 21 initial entries for the £16,000 feature race this coming Friday. (February 19).

Provided the current cold weather spell relents and the north Norfolk course is raceable, the action should be thick and fast for a seven-race card that has attracted 129 entries.

Feature is the 3.42pm Tim Barclay Chase in which Admiral Barratry is one of five last time out winners entered. At the end of January the eight-year-old gelding won over course and distance under a great ride from Bryony Frost and is sure to be one of the favourites if taking up the option to run.

Others entered include Peter Bowen’s Francky Du Berlais, an Exeter winner, Sedgefield scorer Manwell, trained by Sam England, and Matt Sheppard’s Risk and Roll, not seen for 11 months, but previously successful at both Stratford and Leicester.

Half an hour earlier the novice hurdle has attracted 20 entries, seven of which won last time, including Nicky Henderson’s Ballingers Corner, victorious at Market Rasen on his debut under rules in November.

Also entered are Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Fontwell winner Beauport and Paul Nicholls’ Wincanton scorer Flash Collonges. Sheldon, a winner over course and distance for Seamus Mullins at the last meeting, is also in the initial line-up.

Chris Gordon’s December Ascot runner-up Blame The Game and Winds of Fire, representing Evan Williams, runner-up at Hereford in January, are entered in the 1.42pm opening Helhoughton Novice Hurdle.

Jockey James Davies has been booked to ride the Andy Irvine trained Devious Dicks Dame, a recent Plumpton winner, in the 2.12pm Holt Selling Hurdle while there are 15 entries for the 2.42pm Sculthorpe Novice Chase over two miles.

They include En Coeur, Mullins’ recent Plumpton winner who narrowly beat Kap Auteuil on that occasion, the runner-up also holding a Fakenham entry. Richenda Ford’s Leave My Alone, an eight-year-old mare, is also entered, having won over three miles at the track in January.

There are 24 entries for the 4.15pm William Bulwer Long Memorial Hunter Chase inlcuding the Tom Ellis trained Dubai Quest, a winner of four of his eight starts in point-to-points.

The finale, the Fakenham Maiden Open NH Flat Race, sees Harry Cobden booked to ride Nicholls’ newcomer Le Chiffre D’Or while Oliver Sherwood also has a debutant entered, in the shape of six-year-old gelding Francolin.

Racing Report from Thursday 28th January Race Meeting


A delighted Bryony Frost was full of praise for Newmarket trainer Lucy Wadham after taking the feature King’s Lynn Chase, on 7/1 chance Admiral Barratry on Thursday.

And she went on to complete a double in the following hurdle contest, again for Wadham.

Frost gave Admiral Barratry a peach of a ride to score from Nicky Henderson’s Corrany under Nico de Boinville.

“He gave me a terrific ride. He doesn’t pull and jumps really well. I’m still getting to know him. I gave him an easy time at Doncaster once he was beaten last time. It’s a perfect piece of training by Lucy who has planned this race for him, and it’s paid off,” said Bryony.

In the four-runner Tote Mares’ Hurdle, Frost was excellent on Shantung, the 6/4 favourite, who led from start to finish to beat Yauthym.

“I left home at 4.30am and went from Somerset to Lucy’s stable at Newmarket where I schooled some lovely young horses. Then it was straight to Fakenham, so it’s already been a long day,” said Bryony.

“But it’s always worth it when you have winners and it’s always great when they are for Lucy,” added Bryony, who is released one day a week from Paul Nicholls’ stable and usually spends that time at Newmarket.

Sheldon looked a hurdler to follow when landing the RMA Sandhurst Louts Maiden Hurdle under Kevin Jones for trainer Seamus Mullins.

The evens favourite won by less than a length from Kildimo, despite not taking a liking to Fakenham’s tight turns.

“He hated the track but loved the heavy going,” said Jones. “He deserved this win although had the going been good I think he would have got beaten for speed,” he added.

Jockey Tom Cannon has a terrific strike rate at the track and he took a gruelling opener on the heavy ground, on the Chris Gordon trained Invincible Cave.

The eight-year-old gelding had showed little in six previous chases, despite twice winning over hurdles, but he landed the Hunstanton Selling Chase, leading throughout the 21-furlong trip, returned at 5/1.

Leave My Alone won her first race when taking the Brancaster Mares’ Chase under Ritchie McLernon for trainer Richenda Ford. Returned at 5/1, the mare beat the only other finisher, Jonjoela by a distance.

Top weight Bells of Peterboro defied odds of 11/1 to take the Gateley Hurdle under Alan Johns for Tim Vaughan, before the finale, the Conditional Jockey’s Hurdle, went to Avithos, trained by Mark Gillard and ridden by his son Fergus,  returned at 7/1.