1st Nov 2023

Report from Residents Raceday, 1st November


Fakenham Racecourse’s belated start to the National Hunt Racing season was cut short today when racing was abandoned after the first contest on a scheduled six-race card.

Two horses slipped up going around a bend in the 1.40pm Sculthorpe National Hunt Maiden Hurdle and an inspection of the course after the race resulted in the stewards announcing an abandonment of the day’s programme.

Wise Guy, under Ciaran Gethings, and Borodale, under jump jockeys’ championship leader Sean Bowen, both came crashing down. Fortunately, both horses and jockeys escaped injury.

When the horses were in parade ring before the race there was a huge downpour of rain and that proved the key issue.

“We are really sorry to have to abandon the meeting,” said Fakenham chief executive and clerk of the course, David Hunter.

“The heavy rain came at the wrong time. The rain did not have time to soak in and with the lush grass soaked, everyone, jockeys, trainers and stewards were in agreement that it was too slippery to continue.

“The safety of the jockeys and horses is paramount so we simply could not continue. It really is a sad day. In my 26 years here at Fakenham it has never happened before,” added Hunter.

“There is no finger pointing at the ground staff who work so hard. They did nothing wrong it was just that downpour before the race. If it had arrived an hour earlier, we would have been ok and able to race on soft ground,” he added.

Fakenham’s luck must be due to change. The scheduled first meeting of the new season was abandoned a fortnight ago due to heavy rain and during 2023 meetings were lost due to frost in January and to the ground being too dry in the spring.

“We must stay positive and surely our luck will change. Hopefully we can apply for an extra fixture,” said Hunter.

In the only race, 4/5 favourite Roger Pol, under Gavin Sheehan for trainer Jamie Snowden, made every yard to win from the Nicky Henderson trained Call the Dance, the winner going one better than on his hurdling debut at Newton Abbot a month ago.

The next scheduled meeting at the course is on Tuesday, November 21.



Despite the abandonment of racing after one contest, Fakenham’s new Adrian Flux bar was officially opened.

There is always a warm welcome for racegoers at Fakenham and for those visiting today they would have noticed the new facilities completed over the summer.

The new bar building in the grandstand and paddock enclosure was officially named by Lisa and Laura Flux as The Adrian Flux Bar.

“We are very grateful for the generosity of Adrian Flux Insurance and the Flux family for the sponsorship of this building,” said chief executive David Hunter.

The course has also seen plenty of landscaping and refurbished toilet facilities and some trees have been cleared to enable a large, ground mounted solar panel array to be installed later.

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David Hunter