30th Dec 2022

Declared Runners for New Year’s Day


A maximum field of hurdlers will line up for the feature race of Fakenham racecourse’s richest raceday due to get under way at 12.35pm on New Year’s Day.

Sixteen have been declared for the £35,000 Gamble Plant Norfolk Ltd Grand Prix Handicap Hurdle with the winner collecting more than £18,000. The race is off at 2.55pm in front of what is anticipated to be a bumper crowd at the north Norfolk track.

Fakenham’s chief executive and clerk of the course David Hunter is looking forward to a great day.

“It was a shame to lose the December meeting due to frost, but this meeting looks set to be a cracker. It is the first meeting to have Fakenham’s new Double Up Bonus Scheme. It will also be the first day that the New Long Bar will be open and pouring pints!” he said.

Champion trainer Paul Nicholls has the favourite for the big race in Irish Hill. Bryony Frost is booked to ride the five-year-old grey gelding in the two-and-a-half-mile contest. Irish Hill scored at Taunton in November in his second run after wind surgery.

There are plenty of rivals including Carrigdoun Boy with Jonjo O’Neill junior riding for his father on a six-year-old gelding who was runner-up at Kempton in November.

The Mark Walford trained Johnson’s Blue enjoyed a great summer, winning five of six starts before going on to score at Catterick in November and Jamie Hamilton is booked to try to carry on that successful streak while Gina Andrews is riding the Stuart Edmunds trained Krypton Gold.

Olly Murphy’s Made For You was a last time winner at Musselburgh and the field also includes previous Fakenham winners Thirtyfourstitches, Glimpse of Gold and Haafapiece.

The £20,000 Paddy Power Hurdle at 2.20pm sees 10 take their chance including the Fakenham Racing Club owned Allo Allo. The gelding was fourth at Kempton after delighting his local owners with a Fakenham course win in October.

Dock Road, under Sean Clarke is favourite for the opening Amateur Jockeys Marathon Chase at 12.35pm, the gelding a Wincanton runner-up, while at 1.10pm nine go in the maiden hurdle in which the Milton Harris trained Balgowan looks interesting after two recent second-placed finishes.

A Fakenham runner-up in November, Sara Humphrey’s Le Tuer tries to go one better in the 1.45pm R Q Capital Chase while the closing Mares’ Chase at 3.30pm could go to Dr Richard Newland’s Bolintlea, a Fontwell runner-up a month ago.

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David Hunter