Fakenham racecourse will have to survive a 7am inspection to go ahead with a planned six-race card tomorrow.
“With the overnight forecast of snow, which could produce up to 6 or 7 cms, but it is more likely to be 2 to 3 cms, I must call an early inspection. I would give the chances of racing at 50%,” said David Hunter, Fakenham’s Chief Executive and Clerk of the Course
However, Murphy has no runner in the day’s feature, the 3.05pm Handicap Hurdle. Favourite is Red Indian, following his third in the Lanzarote Hurdle. The six-year-old gelding, trained by Ben Pauling, has the assistance of David Bass.
Bridget Andrews claims three pounds off Dan Skelton’s Applesandpierres, a Uttoxeter runner-up while James Bowen partners Nick Gifford’s Theo’s Charm, a Fontwell runner-up.
Murphy will be responsible for the favourite for the other five contests, including the opener, the 2pm maiden hurdle in which he runs Swaffham Bulbeck under champion jockey Richard Johnson. The four-year-old was runner-up on stable debut at Warwick. Sean Bowen rides Lord Napier, trained by his father Peter, and looks the main danger.
Norfolk-based Fergus Gregory partners Murphy’s More Than Luck in the Lycetts Chase at 2.30pm, the seven-year-old fourth on chase debut at the last meeting, having won at Fakenham over hurdles on New Year’s Day. Main rival is Talk of the South for Tom O’Brien and trainer Paul Henderson.
Bisoubisou is another Murphy winner from the last meeting and he tries to defy a 10lbs rise in the 3.35pm Toftrees Mares’ Hurdle. Goodgirlteresa tries to beat an 85-day absence for James Best and trainer Neil Mulholland.
Johnson and Murphy have Wood Pigeon, another Fakenham winner from the last meeting, in the 4.05pm Shereford Chase but the nine-year-old has to see off a three-pound rise.
Only four go in the 4.35pm finale, the Raynham Novices Hurdle but three have experience of winning at the north Norfolk course. Johnson and Murphy have Rio Quinto, a winner in December and runner-up last time while Stuart Edmunds runs Kalochi under Ciaran Gethings, the mare a Fakenham winner in November. Also with a shout is The Linksman, a Fakenham winner on New Year’s Day.
Terry Redhead’s Selection: 2pm Swaffham Bulbeck; 2.30pm Talk of the South; 3.05pm Red Indian; 3.35pm Goodgirlteresa; 4.05pm Wood Pigeon; 4.35pm Kalochi.