Trainer Paul Webber from Banbury in Oxfordshire will be hoping his New Year’s Day journey to north Norfolk pays off this afternoon (Tuesday) when he holds three excellent chances in the final three contests on Fakenham’s hugely popular six-race card.
Jockey Richie McLernon partners all three of Webber’s hopefuls starting with the J P McManus owned Youknowell in the 2.30pm handicap hurdle.
The six-year-old mare was third a fortnight ago at Leicester when down in trip but reverts to three miles, the distance over which she scored in November at Plumpton.
Main rivals in the nine-runner field are Olly Murphy’s Todd under Callum McKinnes, the gelding a Fakenham winner under champion jockey Richard Johnson at the last meeting. The gelding had earlier finished third and second at the course. Also in the mix is the Paul Henderson trained Minella Gathering, under Jack Sherwood, the gelding fourth at Lingfield three weeks ago, having a first run for more than 230 days.
McLernon and Webber have Volt Face in the five-runner novice chase at 3.05pm., the gelding fifth in a class two contest at Sandown three weeks ago, having a first run since wind surgery.
Molly Carew, for Richard Dunne and Neil Mulholland is the likely favourite after finishing second at Sandown while Murphy legs up David England on Craigmor, a July scorer at Stratford.
Biggest field of the day is the 10-runner maiden hurdle which ends the action at 3.40pm. McLernon and Webber have Starjac, a Huntingdon third in November after previously finishing runner-up at Fakenham.
Kings Inn goes for Paul Nicholls, after a recent Doncaster second while also runner-up last time was Some Boy McCoy, Sherwood riding for Murphy.
Feature race is the six-runner handicap hurdle worth almost £9,000 to the winner at 1.55pm when favourite is Murphy’s The Very Thing who returns to the course after finishing runner-up at the last meeting over a shorter trip.
Key rival could be Kilbrew Boy under Kielan Woods for Ben Case, the gelding a winner over course and distance a fortnight ago while Alex Hales has Ceara Be, a Leicester runner-up at the start of December.
The amateur riders get their chance in the 1.20pm chase with Hannah Welch hoping to repeat her recent Wincanton victory on Alex Dunn’s Polo The Mumm who on that occasion was winning the first chase in 14 attempts.
Racing starts at 12.45pm with a selling hurdle which should go the way of likely odds-on favourite Blu Cavalier from Nicholls’ yard, the nine-year-old gelding third at Bangor recently after a lengthy break.
Selections: 12.45pm Blu Cavalier, 1.20pm Sideways, 1.55pm Kilbrew Boy, 2.30pm Youoknowell, 3.05pm Molly Carew, 3.40pm Kings Inn.
Words by Terry Redhead.