13th Dec 2022

Christmas Raceday Sunday 18th Dec –

FAKENHAM HOPING TO BEAT THE BIG FREEZE WITH A PRE-CHRISTMAS CRACKER

Fakenham Racecourse is hoping to beat the big freeze to stage its annual pre-Christmas seven-race meeting on Sunday. (December 18).

If racing goes ahead, Christmas celebrations and the FIFA World Cup Final on screens around the enclosures will take pride of place alongside an excellent card featuring four chase and three hurdle contests.

And there is the bonus of the Fakenham Race Club syndicate running former course winner Allo Allo in the finale, hoping to swell pre-Christmas coffers with another local success story.

Feature race is the Happy Christmas Handicap Chase at 2.52pm which has attracted 14 entries, including former Fakenham winner The Knot Is Tied. Trainer Neil King’s seven-year-old won at Lingfield earlier this month and faces strong opposition in an event worth £20,000.

Stuart Edmunds has former Bangor winner Arizona Cardinal in the entries, Warren Greatrex has the grey Lingfield winner Bill Baxter, and Peter Bowen welcomes back to action Equus Dancer, the eight-year-old a winner of his last three races, although not seen on a racecourse since June 2021.

Action starts with the 12.22pm mares’ novice chase for which there are nine entries, including Phil Kirby’s Asa, a chase debutant having her first run for the northern-based trainer after finishing runner-up over hurdles at Leicester for Richard Hobson in November.

A dozen have entered the 12.52 mares’ handicap chase, including Sunday’s Southwell winner Jessie Lightfoot for Henry Oliver, Bolintlea for Richard Newland, Brandisova for Lucy Wadham and Tom Gretton’s Lincoln Lyn.

A list of 19 entries make up the 1.22pm RQ Capital Maiden Hurdle in which there are many with chances including Newland’s Astromachia, Jonjo O’Neill’s Carrigdoun Boy, Alan King’s Forget The Way, third at Fakenham in October, and Nicky Henderson’s grey, Peace of Rome.

Tom Cannon is booked to ride the likely favourite for the 1.52pm Christmas Cracker Stayers’ Handicap Chase, Chris Gordon’s Blade Runner, a recent Plumpton winner.

Three last time out winners are among 16 entries for the 2.22pm Fakenham Race Club Handicap Hurdle. Feel The Pinch won at Bangor for O’Brien, Aggagio won at Leicester for Gary Moore and Russian Venture won at Newcastle for Rebecca Menzies.

The 3.22pm finale is all about Allo Allo, with the massed ranks of the Fakenham Race Club cheering on the gelding as he bids to repeat his October course success in the Come Racing On New Year’s Day Handicap Hurdle.

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David Hunter