CHAMPION JOCKEY HUGHES EYES UP A SILVER PRIZE ON A GOLDEN DAY
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.