Five-times champion National Hunt trainer Nicky Henderson has hot favourites for three of the seven races on Friday’s racecard. Already boasting a hot strike rate at the north Norfolk course, Henderson is hoping to boost his tally with a treble at Valentine’s Day meeting.
Although just three go in the 2.10pm novice chase, it is an enthralling contest with Henderson running Champagne Mystery, a six-year-old gelding on the same mark as when finishing runner-up at Haydock in December. Previously the horse won at Aintree in November.
The main rival is current champion trainer Paul Nicholls’ Greaneteen, another six-year-old gelding on whom Bryony Frost will be bidding for a hat-trick following victories at Musselburgh this month and at Ascot in December.
Peterborough-based trainer Pam Sly completes the line-up with Kielan Woods on Eskendash, a runner-up at the last Fakenham meeting over the same two-mile distance.
Henderson’s Fix Sun will be a warm order in the 2.45pm novice hurdle as he tries to complete a hat-trick, the gelding having won at Market Rasen in January after a debut success at Sedgefield.
Chief rival is the John Ryan trained Book of Invasions, under Paddy Brennan, the gelding a Huntingdon winner in November.
Henderson’s other top chance comes in the 4.50pm flat race finale with Scarpia, a six-year-old gelding runner-up on debut at Warwick in December.
He faces eight rivals, six of them making their debuts, including the Olly Murphy trained and Fergus Gregory ridden African Dance.
The Gregory and Murphy team have the favourite in the 3.50pm novice handicap hurdle with Dundrum Wood, a Market Rasen scorer on his first run after wind surgery.
Also interesting is Premier D’Troice under Brodie Hampson for Archie Watson. The gelding makes his stable debut on his first run since leaving Irish trainer Sean Doyle for whom he scored at Punchestown.
The feature race is the £16,000 3.20pm Tim Barclay Memorial Chase, a favourite for which is the Nigel Twiston-Davies trained Rizzardo under Jordan Nailor. The grey gelding won last time out at Huntingdon.
Carlisle winner Pookie Petan and the Alan King trained Doncaster runner-up Senior Citizen are key rivals.
Biggest field sees 10 go in the 1.40pm selling hurdle, market leader being Paul Henderson’s Ted Bach, third at Uttoxeter in December while the other race on the card is the 4.20pm William Bulwer-Long Memorial Hunter Chase which should go to Shantou Flyer, a winner of seven of his 29 career chases.
Terry Redhead’s Selections: 1.40pm By Rail, 2.10pm Greaneteen, 2.45pm Fix Sun, 3.20pm Senior Citizen, 3.50pm Dundrum Wood, 4.20pm Shantou Flyer, 4.50pm Scarpia.
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