There is a huge initial entry of 118 runners for Fakenham’s Silver Cup meeting on Friday, (March 15) the same afternoon as the ‘Blue Riband’ of the National Hunt season, the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Spectators at the seven-race meeting in north Norfolk won’t miss a minute of the top action from Cheltenham with all races shown love on the big screens.
Fakenham’s card starts at 1.20pm with the final race off at 5.10pm on one of the course’s top days of action.
The 3.35pm Fakenham Silver Cup Handicap Hurdle is an £18,000 contest with 29 entries at the initial stage. They include Caroline Bailey’s six-year-old mare Dyliev, bidding for a hat-trick after winning twice at Huntingdon in the last three weeks and Gary Moore’s 10-year-old gelding Clayton, looking to go one better than two second place finishes at Lingfield in January.
There are also two £14,000 races on the card. At 1.55pm the Fakenham Staff Fundraising for Air Ambulance Handicap Chase sees two entered bidding for hat-tricks. Christian Williams had six-year-old Cap Du Nord win twice recently at Sedgefield while James Evans’ nine-year-old Nobel Leader won at Huntingdon in February after undergoing wind surgery after having previous tasted victory at Bangor.
The other £14,000 race is the 3.15pm Prince Carlton Chase in which Nigel Twiston-Davies has Ballykan, second at Wincanton a month ago having been in the same position when running at Fakenham in October. Williams has another former Fakenham winner, Sideways, in the line-up.
A selling hurdle opens proceedings at 1.20pm with John Ryan’s Generous Jack looking for a hat-trick after a win over course and distance in February and success at Plumpton in January.
The Robert Case Conditional Jockeys’ Maiden Hurdle at 2.35pm sees Fakenham regular Olly Murphy with two entries who would be making their hurdling debuts. They are Emerald Rocket and four-year-old Redemptorist, a runner-up on the flat at Chelmsford five weeks ago.
The Walter Wales Memorial Novice Chase at 4.35pm has a entry from Philip Hobbs’ stable in Come On Charlie, a December Musselburgh winner while Stonebrigg Legend and Primal Focus, first and second at the last Fakenham meeting, are entered again by trainers Sarah Humphrey and Christian Williams respectively.
The Fakenham Open Hunter Chase is the 5.10pm finale with Silvergrove, a four-time point-to-point winner and Zeroshadesofgrey, second at Fakenham in February, among the line-up.
Words by Terry Redhead