Big crowd expected as Fakenham racecourse bids to make up for lost time
- Credit: Matthew Usher
After having its last two scheduled meetings abandoned due to bad weather, Fakenham racecourse is all set to welcome a bumper half-term crowd today for a seven-race card, starting at 1.30pm.
'It's great to be racing again having lost two fixtures to frost,' said Fakenham chief executive, David Hunter. 'We last raced on a very wet New Year's Day so it has been more than six weeks since we last saw action.
'However, it looks set for a great day, with perfect ground, competitive races and good weather. We definitely deserve that.'
Feature race is the £8,000 Tim Barclay Memorial Chase over 21 furlongs, off at 3pm, favourite for which is the Sam Drake-trained 10-year-old gelding Raktiman, ridden by Jonathan England.
A runner-up at Sedgefield at the end of January, Raktiman takes on five rivals, including Nicky Henderson's A Tail of Intrigue under Jeremiah McGrath. That nine-year-old was last seen in action almost two years ago, finishing third at Sandown.
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Henderson also has high hopes half an hour earlier when his Stowaway Magic under Daryl Jacob will go off favourite for the novice hurdle at 2.30pm, looking to follow up a January win at Doncaster.
Henderson's big rival for training honours, reigning champion Paul Nicholls, will be hoping to add to his tally when Sam Twiston-Davies partners Mr Mix in the 2pm novice chase.
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The grey gelding was pulled up at Sandown recently but had earlier, on Boxing Day, been successful at Wincanton.
Opening event at 1.30pm is the selling hurdle, featuring a field of eight, and likely market leader is the recent Leicester runner-up Lake Chapala under Tom O'Brien for Welsh trainer Tim Vaughan.
Top weight Petite Power looks to follow up a recent Huntingdon victory when trainer Fergal O'Brien legs up Conor Shoemark at 3.35pm for the eight-runner novice hurdle while the closing 4.35pm National Hunt flat race sees Molly Childers looking to better two recent second places, under Ciaran Gethings for trainer Stuart Edmunds.
At 4.05pm the William Bulwer Long Memorial Hunter Chase has attracted nine runners, including last year's winner Vasco Du Mee under Josephine Banks.
2.30pm: Ckalco Des Loges
3.35pm: Movie Legend
4.05pm: Wild Bill