Friday’s fixture at Fakenham is the newly-branded Country Food Trust Raceday and as well as the £20,000 Silver Cup Hurdle, punters will enjoy the Cheltenham Festival on the big screen and some pre-racing entertainment.
There will be a gun dog display in front of the stands from 12.40 to 13.10pm. The first race from Cheltenham starts at 1.30pm while the live Fakenham racing starts at 1.55pm.
The CFT is a charity that enables shot game birds (pheasant and partridge) to be processed into a curry or stew and distributed and given free to food banks and charities that help feed the homeless and those in food poverty.
“It is not a political organisation and does not have a stance on the ethos of game shooting, but for shoots that support the trust it is a great feeling that the birds are used for such a good cause,” said David Hunter, Fakenham’s Chief Executive, and a Norfolk ambassador for the trust which so far has provided more than 600,000 meals.
The CFT Silver Cup at 4.35pm has attracted an original entry of 32 runners and follows the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the blue riband of the National Hunt season.
They include Applesandpierres, a veteran from Sophie Leech’s stable who last time won at Leicester with Ardmayle, also entered, second. There are six other last time winners including Ashutor, with Katie O’Farrell booked for trainer Paul Nicholls, Homer, representing Nicky Henderson, Imperil for Nick Littmoden, Jack Valentine for Venetia Williams, Knight Destroyer for Jonjo O’Neill and Main Fact for David Pipe.
Pipe has a previous Fakenham winner in Jacbequick in the opening 1.55pm claiming hurdle while the second race, a chase named after Fakenham’s legendary Prince Carlton, sees another potential Nicholls runner in Taunton winner Soldier of Love.
The Robert Case Memorial Maiden Hurdle at 3.15pm may feature Nicholls’ Flic on Voyou while Lucy Wadham, such a successful trainer at the north Norfolk course, may run recent Doncaster runner-up Sorbet.
Interesting in the 3.55pm Walter Wales Memorial Hurdle is the Philip Hobbs trained Feuille De Chene. The mare was third at Exeter on her third run for Hobbs since leaving Hue and Lamotte D’Argy in France.
The 5.10pm finale, the Robert Hoare Memorial Hunter Chase, features several old favourites including Full Irish, Sir Mangan and Sir Jack Yeats.
Words by Terry Redhead