The ladies have their day in the limelight at Fakenham on Sunday afternoon when the Jarrold sponsored Ladies Day completes the 2017/18 National Hunt season at the north Norfolk course.
The feature race is the £10,000 plus to the winner Jarrold Ladies Day Chase at 2.50pm in which five battle it out over three miles and 18 fences.
Princeton Royale, trained by Neil King, is the favourite under seven-pound claimer Jack Andrews. A Fakenham regular and twice a runner-up at the course, Princeton Royale runs after a victory at Stratford.
Trainer Jonjo O’Neill has also eyed up the attractive prize and sends Easy Street, an eight-year-old gelding to do battle under Aidan Coleman. The horse was off the course for almost a year before returning a month ago to score at Warwick.
Of the five runners, also in with a chance is Hedgeinator under James Bowen for Christian Williams. The gelding was on a hat-trick when he ran in the Norfolk National at Fakenham’s last meeting, finishing fourth. A drop back in trip should help.
Stratford-based trainer Olly Murphy has been a star at the course this season and has real hopes of further winners, beginning in the opening hurdle at 2.20pm in which he has Emmas Dilemma who was recently third at Market Rasen.
Fifth Shades for Bowen and Williams, a runner-up at Huntingdon on Bank Holiday Monday, and Charlie Pogson’s West To Crossgales, a Southwell runner-up a week ago, are main rivals in the seven-runner event.
Murphy has the help of champion jockey Richard Johnson in the 3.25 maiden hurdle on Yensir, third on debut at Ludlow and expected to improve. Chief threats are Artful Artist, having a first start for five months for Richard Newland and Sam Twiston-Davies, hurdling debutant Guiding Star for Harry Whittington and Pam Sly’s Haafapiece.
Only four go in the 3.55pm novice chase in which Newmarket trainer Michael Wigham’s three-times Fakenham winner Gin and Tonic could score again. Second at Huntingdon on Monday over hurdles, the gelding reverts to the bigger obstacles. Ballycamp, third on both his last two starts is the main rival.
Eight lady amateurs battle out the 4.25pm hurdle with trainer Neil King double-handed with Canford Thompson and previous Fakenham winner Dizzey Heights. But the race may go to Olly Murphy’s Bisoubisou, a course winner in November.
The finale at 4.55pm sees six contest the 1st The Queens Dragoon Guards Novice Chase, headed by Millen Dollar Man, a winner at the last meeting under Richie McLernon for Alex Dunn. But it may be worth watching Wymondham trainer Caroline Fryer’s Midnight Bliss, unbeaten in her last three starts in point-to-points.
Selections: 2.20pm Emmas Dilemma; 2.50pm Easy Street; 3.25pm Yensir; 3.55pm Gin and Tonic; 4.25pm Bisoubisou; 4.55pm Midnight Bliss.
Words by Terry Redhead