Some of the country’s best horse trainers and jockeys will descend on Fakenham Racecourse on Friday for a meeting which is raising money for a West Norfolk charity.

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The likes of Nicky Henderson, Jonjo O’Neill and Venetia Williams are set to have horses competing in at least one of the seven races at the Norfolk Hospice Raceday.

The racing kicks off at 2pm with the pick of the racecard being the three-mile Kettle Chips handicap chase at 3.40pm which might attract jockeys such as Tony Murphy, Richard Johnson and Tony McCoy.

Some 300 people will also enjoy a three-course lunch and an auction as well as getting a couple of tips from racing presenter Lesley Graham before the action begins.

All the money from the lunch and auction will go to the Norfolk Hospice, Tapping House and at least £60,000 is expected to be raise for the Snettisham-based charity. In total, the charity hopes to raise more than £150,000 from the meeting.

Ian Mason, one of the event organisers, said: “This is the biggest single fundraising event we have ever done. The publicity the charity will get from this is just as important as the money raised.

“We’ve done everything we can to make sure this day is going to be a great day out for people and we hope 5 to 6,000 people come along.”

David Hunter, Fakenham Racecourse chief executive, said there are currently 160 entries for the seven races and there will be £78,500 of prize money up for grabs - the highest the race course has ever had.

He continued: “I anticipate the number of entries to be whittled down a bit but I am still very pleased with the number of entries because it looks like each race will be very competitive.

“Our only worry is the fact the ground is good to soft, soft in places but we are hoping it dries up a bit between now and Friday.

“The 3.40pm race is the most valuable race on the card but the 3pm race also look like it will be very competitive and we are hoping for at least 10 runners in each race.”

Asked how the race course got involved with the charity, Mr Hunter continued: “I have known Ian Mason for a number of years and a year ago he asked if we could hold a race meeting for the charity and it went from there really.”

He added: “We are delighted to be hosting this meeting for such a worthy charity.”

East Winch-based Adrian Flux and Kettle Chips, based in Norwich, are two of the main sponsors of Friday’s race meeting.

Dominic Lowe, managing director of Kettle Foods, said: “As a major employer in Norfolk and a supporter of the local agricultural community, we are proud to sponsor the Norfolk Hospice Raceday at Fakenham. “We are passionate about helping to support our community [so] we are really pleased to be involved in raising funds for the much-needed services provided by Tapping House.”

The race meeting comes after the launch of the hospice’s £750,000 Seahorse Appeal, which is being backed by the EDP.

The campaign was launched last month as the charity gears up to move operations to a full-service hospice in Hillington, near King’s Lynn, next year which will provide 12 in-patient beds.

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