29th Dec 2017

New Year's Day Races at Fakenham Racecourse. Owners presented with a prize in the rain.

New Year’s Day | ENTRY REPORT

Long anticipated, one of the biggest race meetings of the Year on New Year’s Day is fast approaching. While it is looking to be a damp one, read on for some notes from Terry Redhead.

Artifice Sivola has been entered by Newmarket-based trainer Lucy Wadham for a bid at defending his crown in the feature race, the North Norfolk Hurdle on New Year’s Day at Fakenham.

On January 1, 2017, the eight-year-old grey gelding produced a fine display under jockey Jack Sherwood to land the £15,000 contest by eight lengths.

Since then the gelding has been chasing rather than hurdling and has been second three times before falling at Fakenham on November 1.

Now Wadham is set to return the gelding to the smaller obstacles for a race which has attracted 18 entries, including two recent Fakenham winners in the shape of Charlie Mann’s Fixed Rate and Neil King’s Mamoo.

Also likely to take up the entry is the Caroline Bailey trained recent Southwell scorer Early Retirement in what could be the most competitive race on the Bank Holiday meeting’s six-race card. The action gets under way at 12.45pm., the feature, the third race of the day, at 1.55pm.

Two other Fakenham scorers this current National Hunt season, Dizzey Heights and Cliffside Park, representing Neil King and Olly Murphy, have been entered for the opener, the Daisy Mason Selling Hurdle which may also feature Johnny Farrelly’s Ascendant, third a fortnight ago after running up a hat-trick of victories.

The amateur riders have their chance in the spotlight at 1.20pm for the Fakenham Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase over two miles and five furlongs.

If taking up their entries watch out for Bollin Lane, going up in trip after winning for trainer Lucinda Egerton at Catterick on December 19, and Oakidoaki, trained by Brendan Powell and a runner-up at Fakenham at the pre-Christmas meeting.

The 2.30pm Happy New Year Handicap Hurdle is the longest race of the day over almost three miles at 2.30pm while at 3.05pm the second of the day’s chases is the Independent Racecourses Ltd Novices Chase.

The finale at 3.40pm is the Fakenham Racecourse Annual Members Maiden Hurdle in which Murphy holds five entries, including recent Sedgefield runner-up Captiva Island, while Je Suis Charlie is interesting for trainer John Quinn after finishing third on debut at Doncaster a fortnight ago.

{Words by Terry Redhead}

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David Hunter