All posts by David Hunter

Jarrold Ladies Day Race Meeting – Five Day Entries

The curtain falls on Fakenham Racecourse’s 2021/22 National Hunt Racing season on Sunday with the ladies taking their place in the spotlight for the seven-race Jarrold Ladies Raceday.
The £20,000 Jarrold Handicap Chase is the feature event at 4.25pm with 13 initial entries for the two mile and five furlong contest.
Two lady trainers have interesting entries. Lucy Wadham fields recent Huntingdon runner-up Somekindofstar while Laura Morgan may run hat-trick seeking seven-year-old Percussion, a scorer at Southwell in both April and May.
Other interesting entries include David Pipe’s Newton Abbot winner Al Roc and Plumpton winner Royal Ruby, a 10-year-old from Nicky Henderson’s stable.
The card starts at 1.50pm., fittingly with a female jockeys’ handicap hurdle. Hey Bob, the Olly Murphy trained winner at Fakenham’s previous meeting, has been entered as has Wymondham trainer Caroline Fryer’s six-year-old gelding Cloudy Wednesday, an impressive runner-up at that same meeting.
Three horses yet to win over the larger obstacles have been entered in the 2.20pm Jarrold Novices’ Chase. Getaway Jewel, from Micky Hammond’s yard, Ar Mest, representing Henry Oliver, and Mike Sowersby’s Rana of Kutch may all take their chance, the latter recently a Market Rasen runner-up.
Top trainer Alan King could run four-year-old filly Sweet Moon in the two-mile maiden hurdle at 2.50pm, the youngster a runner-up at Newton Abbot in her first run for King since joining his stable from the French base of Guy Macaire.
Pure Bubbles, fourth on hurdling debut at Plumpton, and Barenboim, third on debut at Kempton for Fergal O’Brien, in a first run since leaving the Newmarket yard of Michael Bell, are also interesting entries.
The 3.20pm Queen’s Dragoon Guard Prince of Wales Cup Chase has attracted 15 entries including Dubai Guest, runner-up at Fakenham’s previous meeting and veteran grey mare Goodnight Charlie, who was fourth at that same meeting, to Tommie Beau in the Snellings Norfolk National.
The Milton Harris trained Mr Yeats catches the eye among the entries for the 3.52pm novice hurdle while the final race of the season is the 4.55pm handicap hurdle over two miles.
That contest could go to the Sarah Humphrey trained Glimpse of Gold, who notched up his fourth Fakenham success earlier this month in his 10th race at the course. Oliver Sherwood’s Huntingdon winner Rhebus Road and Fergal O’Brien’s Market Rasen scorer Oslo are other notable initial entries.

Report from Snellings Norfolk National Raceday


A brilliant renewal of the Snellings Norfolk National saw 9/2 chance Tommie Beau clear the last of the 22 fences and storm home to take the £25,000 Fakenham feature.

Jockey Micheal (CORRECT) Nolan was patient on the Seamus Mullins trained gelding, twice before a winner at Fakenham.

He steadily improved his position and at the final fence, after more than three and a half miles, jumped between rivals to win from Red Happy and Havana Hermano.

“I tried to save ground on the inside but found trouble in running. He’s a big horse but seems to love it here,” said Nolan.

There were joyous scenes in the winners’ enclosure as owners Simon and Christine Prout collected their trophy to a chorus from ‘Tommy Beau’ from friends.

It was no surprise to see 11/8 favourite Watashock take the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle under former champion jockey Harry Skelton for trainer, brother Dan.

On handicap debut, the five-year-old was ridden patiently before storming clear of pacesetter Cloudy Wednesday trained at Wymondham by Caroline Fryer.

Rathmacknee, slightly disappointing previously, produced a superb performance under Nico de Boinville to take the Snellings Maiden Hurdle.

The Nicky Henderson trained six-year-old recently underwent a wind op and led all the way to win by 33 lengths at 6/5, beating favourite High Tech.

“He gave me a lovely spin. He loved the track. The wind op helped but he really ran well. He loved the good going and the course was excellent as it always is at Fakenham where they do such a great job,” said the winning jockey.

Back in January Ajay’s Way won at Fakenham, beating Dubai Guest. In the Racing TV Profits Handicap Chase, that scenario was repeated with Kielan Woods scoring on trainer Fergal O’Brien’s gelding.

But that only told half the story in a dramatic race which saw two runners pull up, Elkstone fall and Micheal Nolan unseated on Lakeside Lad.

That left Ajay’s Way to race home by 12 lengths to reward punters at 6/1, beating Dubai Guest and Brooksway Fair.

Hey Bob got the day’s action under way when he led from start to finish to land the Racing TV Proud to Welcome Fakenham Selling Handicap Hurdle under Lewis Stones for trainer Olly Murphy.

The recent Sedgefield winner was pressed by Balleticon and Bagan but responded and romped clear after the final flight to score by nine lengths, returned at 100/30.

The finale, the Turner Trophy Hunter Chase, went to 11/8 favourite Normofthenorth under Izzie Marshall for trainer Alan Hill, helped by a mistake at the last by runner-up Socialiser.

Declared Runners for the Snellings Norfolk National, Tuesday 3rd May


Trainer David Pipe is double handed in the feature £25,000 Snellings Norfolk National at Fakenham this afternoon (Tuesday, May 3).

Already boasting a good strike rate at the north Norfolk venue, Pipe has both Red Happy and Abaya Du Mathan in the 4.15pm test over more than three-and-a-half miles.

There are 10 runners for the longest race of the season at Fakenham and Red Happy is partnered by conditional jockey Philip Armson who claims a useful five pounds off the recent Ludlow runner-up.

Pipe’s other runner has Fergus Gillard on board and was third last time at Chepstow, following a Ffos Las success.

Plenty have a chance in the feature, including last year’s winner, Game Line from Peter Bowen’s stable, under Jamie Moore.

But a bigger threat to Pipe’s victory ambitions may come from veteran Potters Legend. The Lucy Wadham trained 12-year-old has been runner-up in his last two starts, both at Fakenham, and has the services of Corey McGivern, who claims a 10-pound allowance.

Debden Bank is another with a shout in a very competitive contest, the Martin Keighley trained gelding under Sam Twiston-Davies having scored at Southwell a month ago.

It’s one of the course’s most competitive cards of the season with 50 horses declared to contest the six races, starting with the 2pm selling handicap hurdle in which Hey Bob aims to give trainer Olly Murphy victory by following up a recent Sedgefield success.

As well as sponsoring the feature, Snellings support the maiden hurdle at 3.05pm in which top trainer Nicky Henderson runs Rathmacknee. The gelding has had a wind operation since finishing second at Hereford and could give Nico de Boinville another victory in the saddle.

Go All The Way is the market leader for the 2.30pm handicap chase featuring nine runners. The Dr Richard Newland trained gelding was third at Fontwell last month but has good opposition in the shape of Fakenham course and distance winner Ajay’s Way, under Kielan Woods for Fergal O’Brien and Brooksway Fair, under Adam Wedge for Welsh trainer Evan Williams.

There are 11 in the 3.40pm novice handicap hurdle including Dan Skelton’s Watashock, third at Southwell a month ago, and Henderson’s Commodore Miller, looking to get back on track after pulling up after breaking a blood vessel at Doncaster before a poor run at Newbury.

A competitive Turner Trophy Hunter Chase ends the day at 4.45pm and should be between Gina Andrews on General Arrow, trained by husband Tom Ellis, and Socialiser under Tristan

Five Day entries for the Snellings Norfolk National Race Day – Tuesday 3rd May


The Snellings Norfolk National Chase over more than three and a half miles is the £25,000 highlight of Fakenham’s six-race card on Tuesday (May 3).

Sixteen entries have been received for the north Norfolk’s course’s longest race of the season at 4.15pm, worth more than £12,000 to the winner and the feature race of the meeting, the first to be shown live on the Racing TV channel.

Last year’s winner Game Line, for trainer Peter Bowen, is among the entries which include two representing David Pipe, three-time recent winner Red Happy and Chepstow third Abaya Du Mathan and another hat-trick scorer, Gats and Co.

The seven-year-old gelding, from David Brace’s stable, has become a Chepstow specialist, winning there three times since February although never over further than three miles and two furlongs.

Debden Bank, for Martin Keighley, was a recent Southwell winner over three miles and in the same race the Paul Nicholls trained Roque It was third and both hold entries, as does Tommie Beau, a Plumpton winner in April for Seamus Mullins.

The day’s action starts at 2pm with a Selling Handicap Hurdle in which Olly Murphy’s Hey Bob, a recent Sedgefield winner is entered along with Gary Moore’s The Flying Sofa, a previous Fakenham winner, and Balletican, third at Newton Abbot a fortnight ago for Kim Bailey.

There are 16 entries for the 2.30pm Handicap Chase including January’s course and distance winner Ajays Way under Kielan Woods for Fergal O’Brien. Stamina Chope, Lee Edwards booked to ride the Dave Roberts trained mare successful at Sedgefield last week, and Dr Richard Newland’s Go All The Way, are also among notable entries.

The 3.05pm Snellings Maiden Hurdle has a couple of entries from Nicky Henderson’s top yard in Rathmacknee, a Hereford runner-up last time and Flinteur Sacre, fifth last time at Newbury, while Newland has Tiger Orchid entered for the first time since October.

A total of 19 entries have been received for the 3.40pm Novice Handicap Hurdle and include Neil King’s Justified, third at Fakenham in March and runner-up at Stratford since, and Wymondham trainer Caroline Fryer’s Cloudy Wednesday, with Lewis Stones booked to ride. Mark Gillard’s No No Tonic, a recent Wincanton winner, is another notable likely runner,

The day’s action concludes with the 4.45pm Turner Trophy Maiden Hunter Chase which should go to Gina Andrews on General Arrow, trained by her husband Tom Ellis and a winner of his last two point-to-point contests, including over course and distance on April 2.

Report from Aldiss Family Race Day, Easter Monday 18th April


Brian Hughes, who on Saturday will be crowned champion jockey, notched his 197th winner of the season on a locally trained mare at Fakenham’s Aldiss Family Raceday in front of a large Easter Monday crowd.

Rapaport, trained near Thetford by Toby Bulgin and owned by his wife Nicola, took the Aldiss Furnishing Stores Handicap Hurdle at 11/2, beating favourite Red Royalist after Equus Millar crashed out at the final flight.

“I bought her as an unbroken three-year-old and I actually rode her to win a point-to-point bumper when I was 56,” said Toby.

“She has a bad back and bad knee and always needs physio; she had some this morning,” he added, after the 10-year-old mare had won for the first time under rules, at her seventh attempt.

The £30,000 feature, the David Keith Memorial Veterans Chase, went to trainer and jockey Katy Price and Ben Poste with 16/1 shot Minellacelebration.

“It’s a 500-mile round trip from our yard west of  Hereford,” said Price. “He’s been too high in the weights and we’ve had to run him all winter to get his mark down. I’m so pleased for the owners.”

Minellacelebration put in a faultless display of jumping prompting Poste to say: “He’s been my horse of a lifetime. He was my last winner when I was a conditional jockey so he means a lot to me,” he said.

There was a thrilling finish to the opening Mama J 60th Birthday Celebration Chase when the outsider of the quartet, Royal Plaza, trained by Katie Stephens, held on.   Jockey Bryan Carver was in the drive position after the last and got the 9/1 chance home by a short head.

Odds-on favourite Forever William made Hughes work hard in the Bruce Towers & Fisher Mechanical Services Hurdle but even he could not get the gelding home.

The race went to all-the-way leader Moulins Clermont under a terrific ride from Tom Scudamore for trainer Gary Moore, the four-year-old returned at 5/2.

Scudamore went on to complete a double when the Sarah Humphrey trained Glimpse of Gold stormed home at 10/1 in the Cecil and Sheila Buttefant Memorial Hurdle.

It was the 11-year-old gelding’s fourth win at Fakenham and he did it from the front, beating Zamond for an eighth career win from 50 starts.

The Queen’s Cup Hunters’ Chase went to the Dan Skelton trained Not That Fuisse, under Tristran Durrell, returned at 5/4.

The finale, the Mares’ bumper, produced another close finish with the Milton Harris trained Coin Basket under Kevin Jones, beating Pure Theatre by a short head, at 100/30.

Declared Runners for the Aldiss Family Race Day – Easter Monday 18th April


Champion jockey elect Brian Hughes, way ahead in this season’s title chase with 195 wins before the weekend’s racing got under way, looks to add to that tally at Fakenham’s Easter Monday seven-race meeting.

Hughes’ top ride looks to be on Restitution in the 2.10pm Cecil and Sheila Buttefant Memorial Handicap Hurdle. The gelded son of Frankel won impressively for trainer Alan King at the last Fakenham meeting and should double up.

The horse that followed him home that day was Toby Lawes’ Vocal Duke and he re-opposes 12lbs better off at the weights, under Kevin Brogan, while Lucy Wadham runs November course and distance winner Sorbet under 10-pound claimer Corey McGivern.

At 1.35pm Hughes rides King’s Forever William in the three-runner Bruce Towers and Son Heating Plumbing Juvenile Hurdle, the gelding likely to find the race easier than his last assignment in the Fred Winter at the Cheltenham Festival.

Wadham and McGivern have hurdling debutant Doublethetrouble while Moulins Clermont goes under Josh Moore, riding for his father, trainer Gary, the gelding also a Cheltenham Festival runner having won at Sandown in January.

Feature is the 3.20pm £30,000 David Keith Memorial Veterans Chase in which Hughes rides Kauto Riko for Tom Gretton.

Those with better looking chances include Some Chaos and Minella Encore. The former was third at Ascot after an earlier Carlisle success while the Dr Richard Newland trained Minella Encore was fourth at Ascot following a Ludlow victory.

Bermeo for Harry Fry, Brianstan for Venetia Williams and old favourite Potters Legend for Wadham and McGivern, also harbour winning hopes.

A quartet contest the opening 1pm Mama J 60th Birthday Chase over two miles with Theo Gillard on Don McCain’s Obey The Rules looking to go one better than his runner-up spot at Wincanton last week.

Gillard and McCain team up in the 2.45pm Aldiss Furnishing Stores Seniors Handicap Hurdle with Cousin Oscar, whose main rival looks to be Fakenham regulars, trainer Stuart Edmunds and jockey Ciaran Gethings, with Red Royalist.

Six go in the Queen’s Cup Open Hunter Chase at 3.55pm with Dan Skelton’s Not That Fuisse, under Tristan Durrell, favourite after his course and distance success last month.

The 4.30pm finale sees eight battle for the Fisher Electrical Contractors Mares’ Bumper with Charlie Todd on board one of the favourites, the Ian Williams trained Kimberley Eve, third at Southwell a month ago.

Five Day Entries for Aldiss Raceday, Easter Monday 18th April


The £30,000 David Keith Memorial Veterans Chase is the feature of the seven-race Aldiss Family Raceday at Fakenham on Easter Monday.

There are 14 entries for the three-mile chase off at 3.20pm in front of what hopefully will be a bumper Bank Holiday crowd.

Bermeo, trained by Harry Fry, a recent Newbury winner, Brianstan from Venetia Williams’ stable, former course and distance winner Potters Legend representing Lucy Wadham and Olly Murphy’s Calypso Collonges, another former Fakenham winner, are among those entered.

Racing begins at 1pm with conditional jockeys in the Mama J 60th Birthday Celebration Chase in which Seamus Mullins has entered ultra consistent En Coeur while Theo Gillard has been booked to ride Donald McCain’s Wincanton weekend runner-up, Obey The Rules.

The 1.35pm Bruce Towers and Fisher Mechanical Services Juvenile Hurdle has eight entries including three last time runners-up in Royle Street, representing Micky Hammond, Harty Parisian from the stable of Milton Harris and Olly Murphy’s Parliament Hill.

Frankel gelding Restitution, trained by Alan King was a course winner at the last meeting and returns for the Cecil and Sheila Buttefant Memorial Hurdle while Dan Skelton has Sofia’s Rock and Paul Nicholls has Birds of Prey in the 2.45pm Aldiss Furnishing Stores Seniors Hurdle.

Not That Fuisse won for Skelton at the last meeting and is back for the 3.55pm Queen’s Cup Open Hunter Chase while the 4.30pm finale is the Fisher Electrical Contractors Mares’ Bumper in which Nicky Henderson has Queens Rock.

The Easter Monday meeting will be the last from Fakenham to be shown live on Sky Sports Racing as Fakenham has joined Racecourse Media Group.  From May all meetings at the course will be broadcast on Racing TV.

The deal means the track becomes a shareholder in RMG until the end of 2028.

The first meeting under the new deal is on May 3 and features the Norfolk National.

Fakenham chief executive and clerk of the course, David Hunter, said: “We are excited to be joining RMG and to be in partnership with many other like-minded small independent racecourses, alongside the larger independents and Jockey Club Racecourses.

“We have an excellent relationship with At The Races and Sky Sports Racing which goes back many years, however, my directors feel now is the right time for Fakenham to make a change and we believe joining RMG will ensure we will continue to provide good quality grassroots National Hunt racing with good prizemoney.”

Report from Country Food Trust Raceday, Friday 18th March


Restitution, a gelded son of Frankel, delivered the £25,000 Country Food Trust Fakenham Silver Cup for Cheltenham Festival winner jockey and trainer Tom Cannon and Alan King.

Having landed the Arkle on Edwardstone on Tuesday, Cannon was all smiles after a great ride on the four-year-old, having his third start over hurdles.

“It was a really good performance. The race is a good stepping stone for him. He improved from his previous start and hopefully will go on again,” said Cannon, after dismounting the 11/8 winner.

Cannon completed a double as earlier he had taken the Walter Wales Memorial Hurdle on Hiway One O Three, who powered home for trainer Chris Gordon.

A recent Carlisle winner, the gelding made use of his light weight to score by seven lengths, returned at 4/6.

Via Dolorosa at 11/4, produced a stunning display of jumping to make every yard in the three-mile £20,000 Prince Carlton Chase under Philip Armson for trainer David Pipe.

The 10-year-old won at Southwell 11 days earlier, set off in front and never saw a rival.

“It’s a privilege to get a ride like that. He won under Tom Scudamore and he told me to set off in front and that the horse would do the rest. He jumped for fun and my seven-pound claim negated his rise in the weights,” said the winning jockey.

Dr Richard Newland’s good form at Fakenham continued when 5/6 favourite Rewired stormed home in the opening Robert Case Memorial Maiden Hurdle.

Ridden by Cilin Leonard, Rewired was always in the front rank and got the better of Coastguard Station to land the spoils.

The Droitwich trained completed a double when his Charlie Hammond ridden Wake Up Early took the Hellesdon Leather and Cloth Furnishing Chase, getting the better of long-time leader Goodnight Charlie, trained at Wymondham by Caroline Fryer, in the closing stages, returned at 4/1.

Another favourite landed the odds when Coole Well under Max Kendrick produced a stirring finish to pip Scudamore for a victory for trainer Jake Coulson.

Scudamore hugged the inside rail throughout the two-mile trip in the Country Food Trust Hurdle and looked sure to collect until Kendrick galvanised the 6/4 shot after the final flight to score.

The finale, the four-runner Robert Hoare Memorial Open Hunters’ Chase, went to the Dan Skelton trained Not That Fuisse under five-pound conditional Tristan Durrell, returned the 5/4 favourite.

Declared Runners for the Country Food Trust Race Day – Friday 18th March


Jockey Tom Cannon and trainer Alan King scooped the Arkle Novice Chase at the Cheltenham Festival on Tuesday on Edwardstone and this afternoon (Friday) switch to Fakenham in a bid to land the £25,000 Country Food Trust Silver Cup.

The 3.45pm feature race has six runners, with Cannon and King represented by Restitution, a gelding out of Frankel. The four-year-old was third of 10 at Kempton just after Christmas and followed that by finishing runner-up at Ascot in January.

Main threats in a race which starts minutes after the end of the Cheltenham Gold Cup, are Olympic Conqueror, Vocal Duke and Glimpse of Gold, all previous Fakenham winners.

Charlie Hammond partners Olympic Conquerer for Dr Richard Newland, the gelding a Fakenham winner last year, while Brendan Powell is on the Toby Lawes trained Vocal Duke and James Best partners Sarah Humphrey’s Glimpse of Gold, a three-time course winner.

There are five in the £20,000 Prince Carlton Chase at 2.25pm, the quintet headed by the David Pipe trained Via Dolorosa under Philip Armson. The gelding carries a seven-pound penalty for victory at Southwell last week.

Bryony Frost partners former course winner Admiral Barratry for trainer Lucy Wadham while Tristan Durrell claims seven pounds off Go Steady for Dan Skelton, the gelding third at Huntingdon earlier this month.

Biggest field sees 10 go in the opening 1.10pm Robert Case Memorial Maiden Hurdle in which Rewired looks favourite under Cilin Leonard for Dr Newland, following his runner-up effort at Doncaster in February.

The 1.45pm Country Food Trust Claiming Hurdle looks ready made for Coole Well under Max Kendrick for trainer Jake Coulson. The gelding returns after a break and a third place finish at Leicester.

Cannon partners Chris Gordon’s Hiway One O Three in the 3.05pm Walter Wales Memorial Hurdle, the gelding having scored at Carlisle eight days ago.

Three rivals are course and distance winners, including Stuart Edmunds’ Here Comes Henry, Jumping Cats for Gary Moore and Thirtyfourstitches for Dr Newland, that gelding having won at Fakenham in January and February.

The 4.25pm Hellesdon Leather and Cloth Furnishing Company Chase is over more than three-and-a-half miles and favourite will be Exod’ela for Jamie Snowden.

The seven-race cards closes with the 5pm Robert Hoare Memorial Open Hunters Chase in which four go, with likely favourite 12-year-old grey mare Activial for trainer Francesca Poste.

Five Day Entries for the Country Food Trust Raceday on Friday 18th March


Fakenham stages its Country Food Trust Raceday of Friday when its own Silver Cup Hurdle contest worth £25,000 is the highlight to rival the famous Gold Cup happening on the same afternoon at the Cheltenham Festival.

While the eyes of the racing world will be on the events in Gloucestershire, Fakenham expects a good crowd for a seven-race card in which the Silver Cup is the highlight at 3.45pm., minutes after the Gold Cup has reached its conclusion.

Dr Richard Newland has tasted success at the north Norfolk venue recently and he has two entries for the Silver Cup in Olympic Conqueror, a course and distance winner at back in March 2021, and Purple King, a Sandown winner just a week ago.

Olly Murphy is another trainer to be reckoned with at Fakenham and he has Dr T J Eckleburg entered, the four-year-old chasing a hat-trick after victories at Taunton and Ludlow.

Among the other 14 entries are two more course and distance winners in Toby Lawes’ Vocal Duke, and Glimpse of Gold, representing trainer Sarah Humphrey.

The Prince Carlton Handicap Chase at 2.25pm is the other highlight on the card with 11 entries for the £20,000 contest headed by Lucy Wadham’s Admiral Barratry, a winner at Fakenham just before Christmas.

Eaglehill, representing Murphy, is another interesting entry, the eight-year-old grey gelding having scored at the course in October.

The 3.05pm Walter Wales Memorial Hurdle sees four horses among the 17 entries who have won over course and distance. The quartet who clearly handle Fakenham well are Ben Case’s Conceroe, a winner in December; Stuart Edmunds’ Here Comes Henry, successful on New Year’s Day; Gary Moore’s Jumping Cats who won in October; and Thirtyfourstitches from Dr Newland’s stable, a dual Fakenham winner, in January and February.

Biggest entry is 18 for the closing 5pm Robert Hoare Memorial Open Hunters’ Chase which includes three in-form horses in the shape of Fifty Shades, Jeremy Central and the Philip Rowley trained Dragon D’estruval.

By contrast just six entries have been made for the 4.25pm Hellesedon Leather and Cloth Furnishing Company Chase.  Ajay’s Ways, for Fergal O’Brien, won at the course in January while Vinnie’s Getaway was runner-up at the track last month.

Nicky Henderson, sure to be at Cheltenham, has entered Rathmacknee in the opening 1.10pm Robert Case Maiden Hurdle while at 1.45pm Coole Well  looks an interesting possible runner in the Country Food Trust Claiming Hurdle.