All posts by Dalia Courridge

Top Trainers Loving Their Chances at Fakenham’s Valentines Day Meeting

Leading trainers Nicky Henderson, Paul Nicholls, Colin Tizzard and Alan King are among those with runners in an initial entry of 105 horses for Fakenham’s Valentines Day meeting on Friday (February 14).


Feature is the 3.20pm Tim Barclay Memorial Chase in which King and Nicholls fancy their chances with Senior Citizen and Saintemillion respectively.


Senior Citizen was runner-up on chase debut at Doncaster while Nicholls’ gelding was fourth at Wincanton in January.


Entries for the £16,000 contest also include Richard Spencer’s Its’afreebee, fourth at the course in December, and Stuart Coltherd’s Pookie Pekan who may raid from Scotland after a Carlisle victory in November.


The 2.10pm Valentines Day Chase has only seven entries but includes two from Nicholls’ stable in Greaneteen, bidding for a hat-trick after wins at Musselburgh and Ascot, and Grand Sancy, fourth in the Scilly Isles Chase at Sandown less than a fortnight ago.


The Flying Sofa, from Gary Moore’s yard, and Pam Sly’s Eskendash, were first and second at the last Fakenham meeting while Henderson has entered Champagne Mystery, a Haydock runner-up after an Aintree success in November.


Three entries bid to complete a hat-trick of wins if they go in the 2.45pm novice hurdle. Tizzard has Beaufort West, a Fontwell and Chepstow winner, Nicholls has Cat Tiger, twice a Plumpton scorer, and Henderson has Fix Sun, a Market Rasen and Sedgefeld winner.


Henderson has three in the 4.50pm flat race finale, with Scarpia, a debut winner at Warwick, Surf Walk, a runner-up on debut at Lingfield, and Sheila Nash, second last time at Ludlow.


Olly Murphy’s stable is in cracking form and has Dundrum Wood in the 3.50pm novice hurdle, the gelding a Market Rasen winner in November. Among the challengers could be Archie Watson’s Premier D’troice, having the first run since joining the stable from Ireland where he was a Punchestown winner, and Evan Williams’ Supreme Escape, a recent Doncaster winner.


There are familiar names entered for the William Bulwer Long Memorial Hunter Chase at 4.20pm., including Little Windmill, Mercers Court, Midnight Cowboy, Shantou Flyer, Sir Jack Yeats and Southfield Theatre.


The day opens with the 1.40pm selling hurdle in which Moore has Britania Bello, recently third at Fontwell.




Fakenham Last Hurdle. David Mouse painting

Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for The Horse Lovers

If you are scrolling the net searching for those last-minute Valentine’s gift ideas for that special someone, who also happens to be a horse lover, we are here to help.  We found some interesting ideas that your loved one may enjoy on Valentine’s Day (or on any other occasion, for that matter).

Some gifts can be purchased from retailers nationwide, but we liked the idea of sharing some fabulous products from our local, Norfolk based businesses.

DISCLAIMER: Please note, that Fakenham Racecourse is not rewarded or renumerated in any way for these product mentions.  For details of each product, or to buy, please click the image and you will be redirected to another website.


Without further ado, here are some of our picks for people who love horses and equestrian lifestyle.

1. ‘In my head, I’m riding my horse’ mug  – Etsy  £12

This is the ultimate fun gift for people who love their tea and coffee as much as their horses.

This is the ultimate fun gift for people who love their tea and coffee as much as their horses.


2. An Original Painting by the ‘Mouse’ Cooper ( £ varies)

‘Mouse’ AKA David Cooper is a figurative artist living and working in Framlingham, Norfolk, UK.  David grew up surrounded by horses. His father worked in the racing industry, and from an early age, David showed precocious talents at both sitting on a horse and drawing. His work is very popular among our racegoers and we commissioned David for several pieces of art to display at the racecourse.


Fakenham Last Hurdle. David Mouse painting


3. Suede Boot tassels – Fairfax & Favor from £20

Every dotting rider will have seen these gorgeous boot tassels by Holt based Fairfax & Favor. It is an absolute must-have in equine fashion circles. Not only does it add a touch of colour and fun to your outfit, but some specific colours are also supporting breast cancer charities too!

4. Horse & Hound Magazine Subscription ( £ varies)

Who does not love to put their feet up after a day of horse riding and mucking up?

Horse & Hound is Britain’s equestrian weekly bible. It offers comprehensive news, events coverage and in-depth reports from top writers across all the major equestrian disciplines, accompanied by the best photography, every week. Alternatively, you can consider another magazine of your choice.




5. Equestrian Jewellery  – Hiho Silver Sterling Silver Bracelet with Equestrian Charms – £65 

A beautiful gift for anyone who simply adores horse riding or showjumping this bracelet is simply stunning. Crafted from sterling silver with a delicate chain and elegantly carved boot, helmet and stirrup, this bracelet is perfect for any special occasion.



6. Gift an Experience ( check out our competition!) –  Priceless

We could not have talked about horse lovers and gifts for Valentine’s Day without mentioning the fact that we have a race meeting on the actual Valentine’s Day on Friday, 14th February 2020.

Creating memories is possibly the best gift one could give and we can help you make it happen.

Treat your other half to a day at the races and indulge in a fabulous meal either at  Punjabi Cuisine restaurant or Afternoon Tea at the Lancaster Room.

We also have a very exciting competition where you can win a romantic race day for two with a buffet lunch and an exclusive viewing area that has never been used by racegoers before! For details and to enter, press HERE




7. Pay a visit to The Hat Shop in Burnham Market ( £ varies)

The Hat Shop is based in North Norfolk in the popular village of Burnham Market; a family ran business, which has been established for over 30 years. The Hat Shop is part of the wonderful Pentney House which is packed full of ladies and gents accessories, stationery, greetings cards, jams and hundreds of gift items. You are sure to find a perfect hat to treat your Valentine there. You are best to arrange an afternoon to pop by the store, perhaps get a lovely lunch at one of the fabulous local restaurants and enjoy a romantic walk on the beach after. This is a serious romantic brownie point earner, chaps!


8. Norfolk Lavender hamper ( £ varies)

Pure English Lavender Oil so prized by expert perfumers down the ages; their countryman’s knowledge and skills ensuring their distinctive varieties are harvested in peak condition and distilled on the farm then blended to create the wonderful perfumes. These are some of the things that are special about Norfolk Lavender products and because they come to you straight from the farm they are excellent value too.




9. Barbour Reversible Leather Belt  from Broadlands Country Sports – £47

You can never go wrong with a good quality leather belt. This reversible belt offers the ultimate versatility – it’s black on one side, brown on the other. Crafted in real leather, it features a branded buckle and is presented in a Barbour gift box.

We spotted it on Martham – based, Broadlands Country Sports website.  It is a family run business and their combined knowledge of the farming and equestrian industries James and Donna Chapman, together with their experienced team, select only products for the store that they know their valued customers can rely on.

10. Fakenham Racecourse Annual Membership ( £ varies)

If you love the thrill of horse racing, it is quite likely that you are already an Annual Member here at Fakenham. And if you are not – it is certainly not too late for you to reap the benefits of our membership. Fakenham Racecourse’s Annual Membership runs between 1st January and 31st December and we put on 12 race days during that time.  Our membership offers incredible value (especially when booking a Double Annual Membership) compared to purchasing your badges on the day. Besides, we throw an annual drinks party for our members ( usually at the end of the season, in May or June) and it lends itself to be a great networking opportunity and hear about our plans for the future directly from CEO David Hunter.

You can find out more on our Memberships page and treat your Valentine to whole years’ worth adventure and thrills together.


Sky Sports Racing Raceday at Fakenham Racecourse, Norfolk



We hope that we managed to give you a few ideas to get you started. Have we missed anything? We’d love to hear your suggestions and ideas and recommendations.

January Raceday - Fakenam Racecourse

Welsh Wizard Williams Lands a Stunning Treble

Welsh trainer Christian Williams hit the headlines when taking the Welsh Grand National with Potters Corner under 17-year-old jockey Jack Tudor just after Christmas. And at Fakenham the pair struck again, with Williams training three winners on the day, two ridden by the teenager.


Williams completed his 45/1 treble when Cap Du Nord got home in the feature, the £15,000 Horsemen’s Group Chase.

Venetia Williams’ Eceparti looked the likely winner approaching the last of the 16 fences but Tudor forced his way through on the inside and got Cap Du Nord home narrowly, at 5/2.


“That is my first treble. We had a horse fall here last year when six lengths in front and that would have been my first one. That’s lovely. It is a lucky track for us.

“He has run well and Sandown and Ascot over shorter trips but it looks like they have made a man of him and hopefully next season he will be a nice horse. It looks like he stays well. He is just a classy horse,” said Christian.


The opener proved notable for jockey Adam Wedge who clocked up his 50th winner of the season when taking the Barnham Primary School Chase on Williams’ Strictlyadancer.

Favourite Blue Monday led but Strictlyadancer drew level three out and took it up rounding the final bend. The gelding went on to score comfortably, returned at 7/2, clear of the running on runner-up, Robin De Broome.

Williams didn’t have to wait long for his next winner when 4/1 chance Massini’s Dream, under top weight, scored in the Conditional Jockeys’ Hurdle.


Tudor kept the nine-year-old off the pace initially. But he ran through on the inside and with a good leap at the final flight, surged through for the mare’s debut success at the 14th time of asking.


Top trainer Nicky Henderson introduced a smart newcomer to hurdling when Grand Roi took the Maiden Hurdle under Nico De Boinville.

Bought from Laurent Veul in France in October, the four-year-old gelding went off at 1/3 and never saw another rival in landing the spoils in impressive fashion.


A jumping mistake four fences from home looked to have scuppered the chance of The Flying Sofa in the four-runner Novice Chase. But Jamie Moore sat tight and kept the seven-year-old going to score for his trainer, dad Gary.


The 5/4 favourite was very game and held off a strong finishing challenge from eventual second Eskendash under Jack Andrews.


There was a 14/1 surprise winner of the Mares’ Hurdle when Quantum of Solace got up late to score under Paddy Brennan for trainer Fergal O’Brien.


The finale, a Novice Hurdle, went to 5/4 shot Oscar Academy, on whom Lewis Stones claimed a seven-pound allowance for trainer Olly Murphy.



Words by Terry Redhead.

Natonal Hunt - Jump Horse Racing at Fakenham Racecourse, Norfolk

Williams Leads the Pack Chasing Fakenham’s £15k Feature

A competitive field of nine runners will line-up for the £15,000 feature at this tomorrow’s seven-race card at Fakenham.


The 2.35 pm Horsemen’s Group Handicap Chase over more than two-and-a-half-miles is worth more than £8,000 to the winner and it is possible to make a case for all those declared.


Venetia Williams’ horses are always worth noting in soft conditions and she has Charlie Deutsch in the saddle on Eceparti, a six-year-old gelding third at Chepstow just after Christmas, following November wins at Wetherby and Chepstow.


Cougar’s Gold, under Sean Bowen for his dad, Welsh trainer Peter, was a runner-up at Uttoxeter in December while Thomas Todd, trained by Laura Morgan with Ryan Day in the saddle, is a previous Fakenham winner.


Jockey Jack Tudor recently hit the headlines with victory in the Welsh Grand National and he partners Richard Hobson’s Eureu Du Boulay, a Fontwell winner who was fifth last time at Leicester.


The meeting starts with a chase at 12.25 pm, with two last time winners looking to land the spoils in Fergal O’Brien’s Blue Monday and Mark Gillard’s Touch Screen.


The former, under Paddy Brennan, scored at Hereford last month while Fergus Gillard claims seven pounds on Touch Screen, who dead-heated at Lingfield this month. Key rival looks like the Olly Murphy trained Robin De Broome, third at Southwell in December on his first run after a break.


The other chase, at 1.25 pm, sees four novices line-up with Newmarket trainer Lucy Wadham’s Little Light, under Maxime Tissier, a recent Leicester winner on her first run following a wind operation, and Gary Moore’s The Flying Sofa, third at Ascot and now dropping in class, as the major players.


Conditional jockeys get their chance in the three-mile handicap hurdle at 12.55 pm when former course winner Stonebrigg Legend goes for trainer Sarah Humphrey and rider Alexander Thorne, the mare facing seven opponents.


Another field of eight line-up at 2 pm for the maiden novice hurdle with Nicky Henderson running Grand Roi under Nico De Boinville. Bought in France from Laurent Viel in October, the four-year-old makes a hurdling debut after winning a NH flat race at Wincanton in December.


Seven mares tackle a two-mile hurdle race at 3.10 pm in another ultra-competitive heat. Wadham has Tissier in the saddle on Miss Heritage, a course and distance winner in December while Leighton Aspell rides the Nick Gifford trained Mystic Dreamer, runner-up at Fontwell last time.


Always worth noting at Fakenham are horses trained by Stuart Edmunds and he has Markada under Ciaran Gethings, a former Warwick winner.


The same partnership has Young Offender in the finale at 3.45 pm, the gelding a Fakenham winner over a shorter trip in December. The main threat is Murphy’s Oscar Academy, a recent Leicester winner on a first run following along absence.


Terry’s Selections: 12.25 pm Blue Monday, 12.55 pm Stonebrigg Legend, 1.25 pm The Flying Sofa, 2 pm Grand Roi, 2.35 pm Eceparti, 3.10 pm Maskada, 3.45 pm Young Offender.

Welsh Trainers Looking to Bag More Fakenham Prize Money

Welsh trainers love bringing horses to Fakenham and often make the long return trip with pockets bulging with prizemoney.

The feature race on the north Norfolk course’s seven-race card on Thursday (January 23) is the 2.35 pm Horsemen’s Group Chase and Welsh trainers Evan Williams, Christian Williams and Peter Bowen have runners among the initial 16 entries for the £15,000 contest.


Evan Wiliams has entered Agent Westy, the winner over course and distance at Fakenham’s pre-Christmas meeting on December 17 in the line-up, while Cap Du Nord represents Christian Williams and Cougar’s Gold turns out for Bowen.


Another interesting entry is Laura Morgan’s Thomas Todd. The 10-year-old was second at the course in December having previously won there at the end of October.


Newmarket trainer Lucy Wadham is another to follow at Fakenham and she has top chances in two events. In the 3.10 pm Mares’ Hurdle, she has Miss Heritage, a Fakenham winner at the pre-Christmas meeting on what was her first run since wind surgery.


Earlier, at 1.25 pm, Wadham has Little Light entered in the Novice Chase, her runner a Leicester winner in December. At that same Leicester meeting, the Nick Gifford trainer Belargus was third, and also holds an entry over a shorter trip.


Olly Murphy’s stable has hit form in the New Year and he has Gavin Sheehan booked to ride Robin De Broome in the 12.25 pm opening chase, the gelding third at Southwell in December in his first race after a long break.


Murphy has two good-looking entries in the 3.45 pm finale. He has The Wolf, runner-up in a Newbury contest on December 28 and now dropping in class, and Oscar Academy, a Leicester winner on his first run for Murphy just after Christmas.


The other two events on the card, for which there are 110 initial entries, are the 12.55 pm conditional jockeys’ handicap hurdle and the 2 pm maiden novice hurdle.


Jamie Snowden has Irska, third at Hereford in January in the 12.55 three-miler while in the 2 pm, David Pipe has three entered while most interesting entry is Nicky Henderson’s Grand Roi.


He was a Wincanton winner in December and fourth at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day, his only runs for Henderson since being bought in France from Laurent Viel.


Words by Terry Redhead

Please make a note of a new start time of the first race at 12.25 pm on 23rd January.

For more details visit this article


Seventh Race Added to 23rd January Raceday

Fakenham has been successful in getting an additional steeplechase race for the race meeting on 23rd January. It is a novice chase, class 4, which was due to have been run at Leicester but was lost because the meeting was abandoned. This means that there will now be seven races with the first race of the day starting at 12.25 PM and last race at 3.45 PM.



First Race – 12.25 PM
Second Race – 12.55 PM
Third Race – 1.25 PM
Fourth Race – 2 PM
Fifth Race – 2.35 PM
Sixth Race – 3.10 PM
Seventh Race – 3.45 PM




There is some limited availability at the Firth Restaurant for 23rd January Raceday.

To make a booking please contact Trudi on 01328 862388 or email


For those who fancy tantalising their taste buds with an explosion of flavours from the Punjab region, booking a table at our brand new restaurant located in the course enclosure could be an ideal solution. Besides a terrific lunch and takeaway menu, you will also be able to enjoy the full view of the parade ring from newly refurbished premises formerly known as Westons Seafood Restaurant, which is now managed by a local Fakenham – based business, Currylicious.



To make reservations, please call or email Mr Rajan Verma 07957 402402 or BOOK ONLINE


Fakenham Racecourse Punjabi Cuisine Curry restaurant (1)

Eastern cuisine spices up the raceday experience in East Anglia

David Hunter and the team at Fakenham Racecourse are always looking to develop their raceday experience offering and the latest addition has really added some extra flavour to a day’s racing at the East Anglian track.

At the start of their 2019/2020 season, the Punjab Cuisine Restaurant at Fakenham Racecourse was born, bringing an authentic taste of the Punjab region to Norfolk. In partnership with local business Currylicious, run by Fakenham based couple Rajan and Rita Verma, the new restaurant is the first of its kind on a British racecourse. The dishes introduce racegoers to an authentic taste of India with delicate spice blends taken from traditional recipes that have been passed down the generation ladder. The offering caters for everyone with vegetarian and vegan choices alongside the meat-based dishes.


David Hunter, Chief Executive of Fakenham Racecourse, said of the partnership

“Raj and Rita are a joy to work with and they provide a local, friendly, seasonal and fun service, along with the very best of Punjab flavoured food. They have adapted what they do to fit the racecourse model really quickly, offering reserved seating, walk-ups and take-outs to ensure that everyone can enjoy the cuisine regardless of their raceday schedule”.


Fakenham regular Malcolm commented:

“I go racing all over the country and I can’t remember seeing authentic Indian food anywhere else. I was so impressed with my food that I ordered take out so my family at home could enjoy it too!”


Situated alongside the parade ring bar the new restaurant has quickly established itself as a must-visit destination on the course.

The local partnerships don’t stop there at Fakenham, in fact, it is at the heart of everything they do. Dotted around the racecourse are a plethora of concessions offering a range of delicacies from Thai cuisine to fish & chips. All of the on-site concessions are run by local businesses and residents, and the bars are operated by The Crown Inn pub which is situated 5 miles down the road in East Rudham.

Hunter said:

“We want the racecourse to continue to be at the heart of the local community which is why we involve them in everything we do. The team and I want every racegoer to have a memorable experience, from the welcome they receive to the food offerings they get to enjoy. Our local suppliers ensure that warm service and great food are provided in spades and they are a key part of the Fakenham team”.


Over at the Owners & Trainers facility in 2019 saw Fakenham retain their ROA Gold Standard, proving that they are continuing to provide an excellent experience to those with a runner at the track. The facility, fronted by Rachel Hunter, offers a friendly experience with complimentary meals, afternoon tea and freshly baked cake, so it is no wonder that Owners who visit the Norfolk course are invariably keen to return. For winning connections, the experience is made that much more memorable having celebratory drinks and food with the racecourse chairman and mementoes of a bottle of locally distilled Archangel Gin and a handmade glass from Langham Glass in Fakenham.

The Cool Roxy Bar at Fakenham Racecourse

Rachel Hunter, Owners & Trainers manager and David’s wife, said:

“We strive to make the Owners & Trainers area feel like a home from home for all our visitors. All of us who work in the area are good friends, and we keep it relatively informal with no uniforms and casual seating. We use local suppliers for our food and drink offering and it is all served by local people, we like to think that our Owners & Trainers area encompasses all that is good about Fakenham Racecourse.”  


Upon receiving the Gold Standard David Hunter said,

“We are delighted and proud to have retained the ROA Gold Standard Award once again. Credit goes to the entire Fakenham Racecourse team who have worked very hard to make our Owners and Trainers experience an enjoyable one.”

Not a racecourse to rest on their laurels David and the team already have big plans for next summer when they’re looking to create a new public bar in the grandstand and course enclosure. On the horsemen side of the operation, there are plans to create new saddling boxes and a new horse walkway. Away from Fakenham Racecourse, there are plans afoot to head to Holkham coastline for a Laytown inspired beach raceday!


Originally published by the  Racecourse Association 

Fakenham Races,National Jump Racing in Norfolk

Ton up original entry for Fakenham’s Christmas raceday

There are 100 initial entries for Fakenham Racecourse’s six-race Christmas raceday scheduled for Tuesday (December 17th).


The feature race of the day is the 1.40pm Sky Sports Racing Handicap Chase over two miles and five furlongs, a contest worth more than £16,000.

Among the 12 entries are four last time out winners, Eureu Du Boulay, Kilbrew Boy, One Style and Thomas Todd.

Eureu Du Boulay, a gelding from Richard Hobson’s yard was a Fontwell winner in November while One Style, trained by Venetia Williams, hasn’t been seen on a racecourse since two victories, at Market Rasen and Hereford, in April 2018.

Kilbrew Boy, trained by Ben Case, was a winner at Fakenham’s Christmas raceday last year, but that was over hurdles. The gelding will be having his third chase, having been a runner-up before winning last time at Wincanton.

Thomas Todd, trained by Laura Morgan, knows his way around the north Norfolk track, having scored at the October 30 meeting over the same distance.

Laura will be hoping for more success in the 2.40 pm Fakenham Christmas Novice Handicap Chase when she has Gold Field entered. The five-year-old will be making a chasing debut, having been third at Fakenham, over hurdles, at the last meeting.

The action begins at 12.40 pm with a mares’ novice hurdle over two miles in which Tom George has entered Zoutoise while that event is followed by a handicap hurdle over three miles at 1.10 pm.

Wymondham-based trainer Caroline Fryer has two entries in five-year-old Amethea and seven-year-old Schap while Fakenham regular Olly Murphy has the likely favourite in Todd, a winner on the same card last year and also a winner at the course’s last meeting on November 19 when accounting for three rivals.

One interesting contender in the original entry list for the 2.10 pm Handicap Hurdle is the Michael Scudamore trained Justice Knight, the seven-year-old gelding a winner last time at Musselburgh.

The card closes with the 3.10 pm Happy Christmas Maiden Hurdle for which there has been an initial entry of 20 runners.

And the day, and the calendar year could end with a royal winner. Master trainer Nicky Henderson has four-year-old Steal A March among the runners, the gelding, owned by The Queen, fourth on hurdling debut at Newbury early in November.

Report by Terry Redhead


By the way, we do encourage all racegoers to get into Christmas spirit and support the National Christmas Jumper Day by wearing their favourite Christmas Jumper on Tuesday’s race day and donating £2 (optional) to Save The Children charity






Home alone Imperial Aura kicks off chase career in great style

Imperial Aura produced an immaculate display of jumping on chase debut to finish alone in Fakenham’s feature race of its six-race card on Tuesday.

The £16,000 Weatherby Beginners’ Chase over three miles saw trainer Kim Bailey’s six-year-old cruise home after his two rivals unseated the rider and pulled up respectively.

Imperial Aura, third in the Chepstow Silver Trophy Hurdle last time, took well to the bigger obstacles and pleasing connections, returned at the remarkable odds of 1/25.


“He is a lovely horse. He jumped brilliantly and is natural. The form of the Silver Trophy is good and we have always thought a lot of him. He is a natural chaser and that’s why we have wasted no time in switching him to fences. I know it was a small field but he did it so well,” said winning jockey David Bass.


There was a royal winner in the Mares’ Chase when Chequered View, under Patrick Cowley, scored for owner The Princess Royal, and trainer Martin Keighley.

The 13/8 chance was clear with half a mile to go in the three-mile chase and easily made it two wins from two at the track, stepping up after finishing runner-up at Hereford a month ago.

Partick Cowley wins with Chequered View . Weatherbys Raceday. Fakenham Racecourse
Partick Cowley wins with Chequered View

Carnspindle got up for second in the four-runner contest in which Bridget Andrews was thankfully unhurt after a crashing fall on Ratoute Yutty on the second circuit.

The third chase of the day saw top weight Paddy’s Poem triumph in a high-tempo two-miler, winning at 6/1 under James Davies for the in-form Nick Gifford stable.

Favourite Master Vintage was looking to complete a hat-trick but when he faded it was left for the winner to hold off the determined challenge of Defi Sacre to take the spoils.

The Olly Murphy trained gelding Todd reserves his best efforts for Fakenham and he won for the third time at the course when landing the opening selling hurdle under Callum McKinnes.

1st Race. Todd. J Callum McKinnes (first yellow n brown). Weatherbys Raceday. Fakenham Races
1st Race winner TODD was ridden by Callum McKinnes

A runner-up at the previous Fakenham meeting, 2/1 chance Todd took it up two flights out and comfortably held off the favourite, another former course winner, Skeaping, by three lengths to earn McKinnes his first victory at the track.

Fergus Gillard made his Fakenham debut a winning one when landing the Four Tenners Amateur Rider’s Handicap Hurdle on the David Pipe trained evens favourite Paricolor.

Making his handicap debut, the three-year-old fell when running well at Wincanton recently and despite some sloppy early jumping, won by nine lengths from top weight Eva’s Diva.

There was last-flight drama in the finale when favourite Viking Ruby unseated Harry Reed as he challenged eventual winner Perfect Moment. Perfect Moment had led for most of the three-mile trip under Tom O’Brien for trainer Michael Roberts, returned at 9/2.

Fakenham Racecourse Weatherbys Raceday 2019

Who’s betting against Imperial Aura being one of Fakenham’s shortest priced winners?

Fakenham could witness one of its shortest priced winners this afternoon in the £16,000 feature contest on the six-race card.

The Weatherbys Racing Bank Beginners’ Chase at 2.40pm over three miles has attracted just three runners and the Kim Bailey trained Imperial Aura is likely to be sent off at around 1/20, under jockey David Bass.

Imperial Aura, a six-year-old gelding, will be making his chasing debut but last time out was an eye-catching third in the Silver Trophy Hurdle at Chepstow, looking a real chaser in the making.

His two rivals, Parsonal and Positive Touch look well held. Parsonal, under Ben Poste for trainer Sarah Humphrey, failed to win in seven point-to-points and has only a third place to show from five races under rules.

Positive Touch, under Liam Treadwell for Dai Williams, failed to complete in five point-to-points and has been tailed off in three attempts over hurdles.

While the field are small, the remaining contests should prove more competitive. The 3.10pm Weatherbys VAT Services Handicap Chase over two miles sees six line-up with favourite Master Vintage, a hat-trick seeking gelding from Richard Phillips’ yard under three-pound claimer Daniel Hiskett. Master Vintage won at Market Rasen before making all at Huntingdon to score again last week.

His main rival appears to be Defi Sacre for Richard Hobson, the ex-French winning chaser better than his fourth at Huntingdon a fortnight ago.

The third chase is the 1.40pm Weatherbys Racing Bank Foreign Exchange Mares’ Chase over three miles which could go to Chequered View under Patrick Cowley for trainer Martin Keighley. The gelding won at Worcester in September.

Main rival is Black Tulip, champion jockey Richard Johnson’s only ride of the day. Henry Daly’s mare was only third on her season reappearance at Stratford having been in the frame four times last season.

The card opens with the 1.10pm selling hurdle in which Todd, for Olly Murphy, second at the course three weeks ago, and Skeaping, a Fakenham winner earlier this season for Phil Middleton, look the main contenders.

Amateur riders have the Four Tenners Handicap Hurdle at 2.10pm in which Middleton will be looking for further success for Eva’s Diva while the 3.40pm finale, the Sculthorpe Mares’ Hurdle, could go to favourite Viking Ruby, under Harry Reed for Neil Mulholland, the six-year-old successful last time at Taunton.



Terry Redhead’s Selections: 1.10pm Skeaping, 1.40pm Black Tulip, 2.10pm Eva’s Diva, 2.40pm Imperial Aura, 3.10pm Defi Sacre, 3.40pm Viking Ruby.


Words by Terry Redhead.