Fakenham Racecourse will be hoping that the British Horseracing Authority lifts its current ban on racing in time for its scheduled meeting to take place on Friday. (February 15).
No new cases of equine flu have been confirmed following tests of hundreds of horses, the BHA said on Saturday evening, but added there were more tests to be carried out.
All race meetings have been cancelled in Britain until Wednesday at the earliest, after six cases of the virus emerged towards the end of last week.
The Animal Health Trust, based in Newmarket, which is conducting tests for the BHA, has received 2,100 swabs from stables across the country and has analysed about 720 of them.
It told the BHA there had been no further positive samples returned from those tests.
Fakenham has lost its last two scheduled meetings, both in January, to the weather, overnight frosts causing early morning abandonments.
The seven-race card planned for Friday, the Lycetts Raceday, features, at 3.20pm, the Tim Barclay Memorial Handicap Chase over two miles and five furlongs and sees the return to the track of the Christian Williams trained gelding Sideways, a winner at Sedgefield after scoring at Fakenham on New Year’s Day.
Peter Bowen’s Doncaster winner Cougar’s Gold is another entry along with Paul Webber’s Volt Face, the 10-year-old gelding runner-up at Market Rasen after finishing second at Fakenham on January 1.
The meeting starts at 1.40pm and half an hour later the Lycetts Farm and Estate Insurance Brokers Novice Chase over two miles should be competitive as will the Lycetts Bloodstock Insurance Brokers Novice Handicap Hurdle at 3.50pm.
Run over three miles, three last time out winners are among the entries, including Colin Tizzard’s Copperhead, a winner over a shorter trip at Exeter in January.
Corinto, for Olly Murphy, a recent Market Rasen winner, and Uno Mas, Christian Williams’ Catterick scorer, are also entered.
The 2.45pm novice hurdle has attracted 25 entries including Cloudy Glen for Venetia Williams, the gelding having won at both Chepstow and Haydock since Christmas.
Entries also include last time winners Colooney for Murphy, Khage for Harry Whittington and Rapper for Henry Daly. Champion trainer Nicky Henderson has Mill Green, the gelding a winner at Newton Abbott and Fontwell last summer.
Words by Terry Redhead