31st Dec 2017

Horse Steaming in the parade ring after races at Fakenham Racecourse.

New Year’s Day Races | DECLARATIONS

A highly competitive six-runner North Norfolk Handicap Hurdle is the feature of the New Year’s Day six-race action at Fakenham this afternoon.

Two recent Fakenham scorers tackle last year’s winner of the contest in the 20-furlong 1.55pm event in the heavy ground following recent rain.

Last year’s winner, Artifice Sivola from Lucy Wadham’s Newmarket stable, has a first run over hurdles since scoring a year ago. After that win the grey gelding went chasing, finishing runner-up three times in five outings. French jockey Maxime Tissier, who had his first success in England at Fakenham’s last meeting, is in the saddle.

Likely favourite is trainer Neil King’s Mamoo, under Trevor Whelan. The five-year-old was seventh at the course’s pre-Christmas meeting having scored over course and distance on December 4.

Fixed Rate, trained by Charlie Mann, is also worth considering having won over course and distance in October. The five-year-old gelding was sixth last time out, at Doncaster three weeks ago.

The action starts at 12.45pm when six go in the Daisy Mason Selling Hurdle, odds-on favourite for which is Ascendant under Patrick Cowley for trainer Johnny Farrelly. Third at Ludlow just before Christmas, the 12-year-old had won his three previous outings at Huntingdon, Kempton and Worcester.

Amateur riders get a chance to shine at 1.20pm in the first of two chases on the card. Neil King’s Little Windmill under Jack Andrews will be favourite while Oakidoaki, second at the course at the last meeting, and Touch Screen, a previous Lingfield winner, look the main threats.

Another former Fakenham winner, Minella Gathering, looks to strike again in the 2.30pm Happy New Year Handicap Hurdle for trainer Paul Henderson. Jack Sherwood rides the nine-year-old with opposition from five rivals including More Than Luck, a previous Taunton winner.

Only two go in the second chase, the 3.05pm Independent Racecourses Novice Chase. Huntingdon’s Boxing Day winner Norse Light under Whelan for trainer David Dennis has to defy a seven-pound penalty for that success when he meets Olly Murphy’s Mullaghboy under Charlie Poste. That gelding fell on chase debut at Fakenham’s last meeting having earlier won a hurdle contest in Norfolk.

The seven-runner maiden hurdle is the 3.40pm finale with Murphy fielding Fresh New Dawn, recently third at Ffos Las. Blue Sire and Rajapur are interesting, both making returns to hurdling after long absences.


Terry Redhead’s Selections: 12.45pm, Ascendant; 1.20pm, Touch Screen; 1.55pm, Artifice Sivola; 2.30pm, Minella Gathering; 3.05pm, Norse Light; 3.40pm, Rajapur.

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David Hunter