All posts by Dalia Courridge

Green And Gold Winning Habit Spreads To Fakenham As Burke Bags A Double

The green and gold hoops of owner JP McManus swept the board at the Cheltenham Festival and also scored at Fakenham when grey gelding Onefortheroadtom made it a winning debut at the track for trainer Harry Fry.


Winning jockey Jonathan Burke sat quietly throughout the three-mile Prince Carlton Chase but took his chance to squeeze through on the inside of market rival Echiquier on the final bend. After the two jumped the last together, Burke was able to drive his mount home.


The 5/4 favourite was winning his third race over fences. “I could see Echiquier was jumping to his right and took my chance. My horse is progressing and I think he will be even better on a more conventional track,” said Burke.

Burke went on to complete a double when he won the Country Food Trust £20,000 Fakenham Silver Cup on 10/1 shot Nebuchadnezzar for trainer Alan King.

Nebuchadnezzarwon the Silver Cup Race for trainer Alan King.


Favourite Homer proved disappointing and rounding the final bend with one flight to jump, rivals were lining up but pacesetting Nebuchadnezzar found more to win his first hurdle race at the eighth attempt.

“He changed gear two out and they couldn’t get to him. He will be even better over fences,” said Burke.

Medalla De Oro looked a useful newcomer to hurdling when, at 2/1, he won the Robert Case Memorial Hurdle over two miles under conditional jockey James Neild for trainer Harry Whittington.


Medalla De Oro under jockey James Neild for trainer Harry Whittington.


A Chester flat winner in July, the gelding led from the start and clinched success with a good leap at the final flight to beat favourite Sorbet.

Corri Lindo quickened away after the last to land the Walter Wales Memorial Hurdle at 8/1 for claimer Nathan Brennan and trainer Henry Oliver. The 10-year-old gelding pounced to land the first success at his 19th attempt.

The opener boosted favourite backers when 4/7 chance Swaffham Bulbeck won the Claiming Hurdle. Under Callum McKinnes for trainer Olly Murphy, Swaffham Bulbeck, who won at the same meeting last year, tracked market rival Coole Well before taking it up before the last flight to score. The winning horse was bought by trainer Conor Dore for £14,000.


Under Callum McKinnes for trainer Olly Murphy, Swaffham Bulbeck won the Claiming Hurdle.


The finale, the Robert Hoare Memorial Hunter Chase, went to fast-finishing Full Irish under Jack Andrews for trainer David Phelan.


Words by Terry Redhead.

Gold-Star Henderson Out To Plunder Fakenham’s Silver Cup

Trainer Nicky Henderson has been among the Cheltenham Festival winners all week and tomorrow looks to add to his tally as well as landing the £20,000 feature on Fakenham’s six-race card.


Spectators will be able to watch the Cheltenham action, including the Gold Cup, on screens at the north Norfolk course which is staging its newly-branded Country Food Trust Raceday.


That means racegoers will also be able to see a gun dog display before racing and learn more about the Country Food Trust which is a charity that enables shot game birds (pheasant and partridge) to be processed into a curry or stew and distributed and given free to food banks and charities that help feed the homeless and those in food poverty. 


The CFT Fakenham Silver Cup Handicap Hurdle at 4.35pm has attracted 13 runners and Henderson has the market leader in four-year-old Sea The Stars gelding Homer. Homer, for whom James Bowen is booked to ride, won at Kempton early in February and can take his chance off a handy mark before he is due to rise nine pounds in the ratings in the near future.


Main rivals in the competitive looking two-miler are Ashutor and Movie Legend. The former, a grey gelding trained by Paul Nicholls, is up five pounds after a Catterick victory and has Katie O’Farrell in the saddle.


Movie Legend, a 10-year-old from Lucy Wadham’s Newmarket base, won at the course in October 2018 and is seven pounds better off than his last run, a fourth placing at Doncaster.


The action starts at 1.55pm with five in the claiming hurdle which looks between Coole Well from Jamie Snowden’s yard and Olly Murphy’s Swaffham Bulbeck, a Fakenham winner at the same meeting last year. 


Before Bowen’s ride on Homer, he partners top weight Echiquer for Nigel Twiston-Davies in the Prince Carlton Chase at 2.35pm, the main threat being Harry Fry’s Onefortheroadtom.


The Robert Case Memorial Maiden at 3.15pm has an interesting hurdling debutant in Medalla De Oro under James Neild for Harry Whittington while 10 go in the 3.55pm Walter Wales Memorial Hurdle, favourite for which is Starsky for O’Farrell and Nicholls.


The 5.10pm finale, the five-runner Robert Hoare Memorial Hunter Chase, could go to Full Irish for Jack Andrews and trainer David Phelan.


Words by Terry Redhead.


Selections: 1.55pm Swaffham Bulbeck, 2.35pm Echiquer, 3.15pm Medalla De Oro, 3.55pm Josie Abbing, 4.35pm Homer, 5.10pm Full Irish.


Entertainment Assured As Fakenham Goes Silver On Gold Cup Day

Friday’s fixture at Fakenham is the newly-branded Country Food Trust Raceday and as well as the £20,000 Silver Cup Hurdle, punters will enjoy the Cheltenham Festival on the big screen and some pre-racing entertainment.

There will be a gun dog display in front of the stands from 12.40 to 13.10pm. The first race from Cheltenham starts at 1.30pm while the live Fakenham racing starts at 1.55pm.


The CFT is a charity that enables shot game birds (pheasant and partridge) to be processed into a curry or stew and distributed and given free to food banks and charities that help feed the homeless and those in food poverty.


“It is not a political organisation and does not have a stance on the ethos of game shooting, but for shoots that support the trust it is a great feeling that the birds are used for such a good cause,”  said David Hunter, Fakenham’s Chief Executive, and a Norfolk ambassador for the trust which so far has provided more than 600,000 meals.

The Country Food Trust Raceday at Fakenham Racecourse

The CFT Silver Cup at 4.35pm has attracted an original entry of 32 runners and follows the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the blue riband of the National Hunt season.


They include Applesandpierres, a veteran from Sophie Leech’s stable who last time won at Leicester with Ardmayle, also entered, second. There are six other last time winners including Ashutor, with Katie O’Farrell booked for trainer Paul Nicholls, Homer, representing Nicky Henderson, Imperil for Nick Littmoden, Jack Valentine for Venetia Williams, Knight Destroyer for Jonjo O’Neill and Main Fact for David Pipe.


Pipe has a previous Fakenham winner in Jacbequick in the opening 1.55pm claiming hurdle while the second race, a chase named after Fakenham’s legendary Prince Carlton, sees another potential Nicholls runner in Taunton winner Soldier of Love.


The Robert Case Memorial Maiden Hurdle at 3.15pm may feature Nicholls’ Flic on Voyou while Lucy Wadham, such a successful trainer at the north Norfolk course, may run recent Doncaster runner-up Sorbet.


Interesting in the 3.55pm Walter Wales Memorial Hurdle is the Philip Hobbs trained Feuille De Chene. The mare was third at Exeter on her third run for Hobbs since leaving Hue and Lamotte D’Argy in France.


The 5.10pm finale, the Robert Hoare Memorial Hunter Chase, features several old favourites including Full Irish, Sir Mangan and Sir Jack Yeats.


Words by Terry Redhead 

Just Jockeys


To celebrate International Women’s Day on Sunday 8th March, Great British Racing has launched its #JustJockeyscampaign, showcasing the incredible talents of women in the sport, where they compete on an equal footing to men.



The campaign showcases the fact that all jockeys have to share the same attributes in order to be successful and that there is no need to differentiate between the exploits of male and female jockeys – they should all be referred to simply as “jockeys”. The campaign video features Jump and Flat jockeys including the likes of record holder Hollie Doyle, 2019 Champion Flat Jockey Oisin Murphy, first woman to ride in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Sponsored by QIPCO) Currie and Grade-1 winning jockey Lizzie Kelly.

he campaign coincides with data released today which shows that over the past five years women in horseracing have continued to excel in one of the few sports in which men and women compete as equals. From 2015-2019 there has been a 76% increase of winners achieved by women across Jump and Flat racing, with a 79% rise from 316 to 567 winners on the Flat during the period and a 68% rise in Jump racing, from 139 winners in 2015 to 234 winners achieved by women last year.

Number of Female Jockey Winners


As well as a significant increase in the number of winners, there has been a 26% rise in women holding a professional (rather than amateur) jockey license since 2015, indicating more opportunities existing in the sport.


Speaking about the campaign, Flat jockey Hollie Doyle who, in 2019, broke the record for the most wins by a woman in a calendar year (116) said: “We compete against men every day and we’re equals on and off the track. It is important for horseracing and for setting examples for other sports that this is recognised, and we are referred to as jockeys rather than ‘female’ jockeys.


The 23-year old added: “#JustJockeys recognises that all jockeys have the same skills and are equally as driven. There have been a lot more women competing in the sport professionally in recent years and I think that the wider industry has realised that, if given the opportunity, women are just as good as men and our gender should not come into the equation.”


2019 Champion Flat Jockey Oisin Murphy said: “Jockeys work incredibly hard both in the training and on the racetrack. Women are playing an increasingly more important role both as jockeys and as part of the wider industry and it fantastic to see their success grow year on year.”

Murphy continued: “Personally, I don’t feel there is any gender divide between female and males, and I feel that females in racing will continue to grow and thrive in our sport.”


Tallulah Lewis, Women in Racing Chair said “#JustJockeys is a great initiative to showcase the talented and diverse range of jockeys we are all lucky enough to see riding almost every day and Women in Racing is delighted to support this campaign.”


2019 saw a number of success stories for women in horseracing including Jump jockey, Bryony Frost,  who became the first woman to win a Grade 1 race during the Cheltenham Festival; Flat jockey Hayley Turner who was the first woman to win at Royal Ascot in 32 years and Khadijah Mellah who made history when she became the first British Muslim woman to win a race when landing the Magnolia Cup Charity race at Goodwood.


While we celebrate the success stories for women in racing, which are positively and undoubtedly on the rise, British racing has acknowledged that there is more to do to improve equality of opportunities for all jockeys. The sport’s Diversity in Racing Steering Group is carrying out research into every stage of a jockey’s career to explore how to further increase female participation and improving female facilities on racecourses as part of its current core objectives.


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POST RACING REPORT - Sun Shocker As King Swoops For A Valentines Day Double

Sun Shocker As King Swoops For A Valentines Day Double

There was a major shock in the four-runner novice hurdle when 1/6 favourite Fix Sun was beaten by 8/1 chance Fraternel at Fakenham. Trainer Nicky Henderson’s Fix Sun, under Daryl Jacobs, was bidding for a hat-trick but a disastrous error three flights out saw the five-year-old almost hit the deck. Jacobs was able to sit tight and get Fix Sun going again but Tom Cannon loomed upsides at the final flight on Fraternel and land the spoils for trainer Alan King.


King went on to complete a quick double when 13/8 shot Senior Citizen won the feature, the £16,000 Tim Barclay Memorial Chase, under Adrian Heskin.


A Doncaster runner-up on his previous outing, Senior Citizen crept through on the inside of the final bend to edge ahead of Rizzardo and sealed success with a super jump at the last of the 16 fences to score comfortably.


“He been very professional and won nicely. He will learn a lot from today,” said Heskin, before suggesting a trip to Ayr may be next on the gelding’s agenda.


Greaneteen was a hugely impressive winner of the three-runner novice chase to clock up champion trainer Paul Nicholls’ 73rd winner of the season.


The 2/5 favourite, under Harry Cobden, led from start to finish to record a hat-trick of chase victories and leave punters wondering where the gelding would head next.


Many feel he should go for the Arkle or one of the handicaps at the Cheltenham Festival next month while Cobden favoured the six-year-old aiming at Aintree in April.


Shantou Flyer was runner-up in the Foxhunters Chase at last year’s Cheltenham Festival and he could be heading there again next month after taking the William Bulwer-Long Memorial Chase under champion amateur rider David Maxwell. Trained by Rose Loxton, Shantou Flyer won easily, returned at 4/11.


Archie Watson is one of the up-and-coming flat trainers but he landed a jumps success when the outsider of the five-runner field Premier D’Troice took the Valentines Day novices hurdle at 9/1.


Well ridden by Brodie Hampson, the gelding, having his first run for the Newmarket handler, followed up his win in October at Punchestown when trained by Sean Doyle.

There was plenty of money around for the Kenny Johnson trained Cryogenics in the opener and the overnight 33/1 chance eventually took the selling hurdle, returned at 7/1.


Alison Clarke pushed Cryogenics to the front of the 10-runner field early on and the gelding, landing a first career win at the 18th attempt, scored ahead of By Rail and Flanagans Field.


“He’s only little but a second wind op seems to have done the trick,” said Johnson, before the winner was bought in for £6,800.


The finale proved another disappointment for Henderson with favourite Scarpia well beaten in the NH flat race by trainer Lucy Wadham’s debut-making grey filly Martello Sky, ridden by Eoin Walsh and returned at 4/1.


Words by Terry Redhead 

Top Trainer Henderson Sets Sights On A Valentine’s Treble

Five-times champion National Hunt trainer Nicky Henderson has hot favourites for three of the seven races on Friday’s racecard. Already boasting a hot strike rate at the north Norfolk course, Henderson is hoping to boost his tally with a treble at Valentine’s Day meeting.


Although just three go in the 2.10pm novice chase, it is an enthralling contest with Henderson running Champagne Mystery, a six-year-old gelding on the same mark as when finishing runner-up at Haydock in December. Previously the horse won at Aintree in November.


The main rival is current champion trainer Paul Nicholls’ Greaneteen, another six-year-old gelding on whom Bryony Frost will be bidding for a hat-trick following victories at Musselburgh this month and at Ascot in December.


Peterborough-based trainer Pam Sly completes the line-up with Kielan Woods on Eskendash, a runner-up at the last Fakenham meeting over the same two-mile distance.


Henderson’s Fix Sun will be a warm order in the 2.45pm novice hurdle as he tries to complete a hat-trick, the gelding having won at Market Rasen in January after a debut success at Sedgefield.


Chief rival is the John Ryan trained Book of Invasions, under Paddy Brennan, the gelding a Huntingdon winner in November.


Henderson’s other top chance comes in the 4.50pm flat race finale with Scarpia, a six-year-old gelding runner-up on debut at Warwick in December.


He faces eight rivals, six of them making their debuts, including the Olly Murphy trained and Fergus Gregory ridden African Dance.


The Gregory and Murphy team have the favourite in the 3.50pm novice handicap hurdle with Dundrum Wood, a Market Rasen scorer on his first run after wind surgery.


Also interesting is Premier D’Troice under Brodie Hampson for Archie Watson. The gelding makes his stable debut on his first run since leaving Irish trainer Sean Doyle for whom he scored at Punchestown.


The feature race is the £16,000 3.20pm Tim Barclay Memorial Chase, a favourite for which is the Nigel Twiston-Davies trained Rizzardo under Jordan Nailor. The grey gelding won last time out at Huntingdon.


Carlisle winner Pookie Petan and the Alan King trained Doncaster runner-up Senior Citizen are key rivals.


Biggest field sees 10 go in the 1.40pm selling hurdle, market leader being Paul Henderson’s Ted Bach, third at Uttoxeter in December while the other race on the card is the 4.20pm William Bulwer-Long Memorial Hunter Chase which should go to Shantou Flyer, a winner of seven of his 29 career chases.



Terry Redhead’s Selections: 1.40pm By Rail, 2.10pm Greaneteen, 2.45pm Fix Sun, 3.20pm Senior Citizen, 3.50pm Dundrum Wood, 4.20pm Shantou Flyer, 4.50pm Scarpia.