22nd Jan 2018

January Meeting | DECLARATIONS

It’s almost 12 years since trainer Pam Sly, based at Thorney near Peterborough, enjoyed the greatest day of her racing career when Speciosa won the 1,000 Guineas.

Since that day in 2006, the trainer has been better known for success in National Hunt racing and she will be looking to score again this afternoon at Fakenham (Monday) when she runs the favourite, Popelys Gull, in the feature, the 2.25pm three-mile Wendling Handicap Chase.

Under Kielan Woods, the six-year-old gelding was runner-up at the north Norfolk course just before Christmas and now goes up in trip.

Holly Bush Henry under James Bowen for Aylesbury-based Phil Middleton, offers a real threat in the six-runner contest, the gelding a class two hurdle winner at Sandown in December while trainer Olly Murphy has David England on board More Than Luck, up eight pounds after his win at the course on New Year’s Day.

All eyes will be on hurdling debutant Dolphin Vista in the 2.55pm maiden hurdle. Trained in Newmarket by Martyn Meade, Dolphin Vista pulled off a 50/1 shock victory in the Cambridgeshire in September, a race worth £100,000 to the winner and much is anticipated on his debut over timber.

Champion jockey Richard Johnson partners Murphy’s Captiva Island, twice a recent runner-up while Lucy Wadham can never be ignored at Fakenham and legs up Leighton Aspell on Potters Midnight, third at the track on December 19.

The Taverham Handicap Hurdle opens the card at 1.25pm when 10 go, including Gin and Tonic, a previous Fakenham winner for trainer Michael Wigham. Johnson and Murphy have Hurricane Rita, the grey mare down in trip while Tom Dowling is on Yourholidayisover, who finished ahead of Gin and Tonic in December.

Six go in the novice hurdle at 1.55pm with Johnson and Murphy looking to Rio Quinto, a course winner in December. Oscar Star, a recent Southwell winner for trainer Jamie Snowden and jockey Gavin Sheehan, looks a danger.

The second chase, at 3.25pm., sees Johnson and Murphy hopeful of a big run from Wood Pigeon while Adam Pogson rides 11-year-old Mondo Cane for his father, trainer Charlie, the gelding a recent Southwell third.

The 3.55pm finale is the Longham Conditional Jockeys Hurdle, favourite for which is Neil King’s Little Windmill, a New Year’s Day winner at Fakenham.

Selections: 1.25, Yourholidayisover; 1.55, Oscar Star; 2.25, Popelys Gull; 2.55pm, Dolphin Vista; 3.25pm, Wish In A Well; 3.55pm, Bisoubisou.

Words by Terry Redhead 

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David Hunter