Big guns ready as Henderson and Nicholls size up Fakenham meeting
- Credit: Ian Burt
National Hunt racing's big names are out in force on Saturday afternoon when Fakenham stages a seven-race re-arranged card following the loss of Easter Monday's weather-hit fixture.
Top trainers Nicky Henderson and Paul Nicholls are represented, while jockey Sam Twiston-Davies looks to add to a season that has already landed him 102 winners.
He rides for father Nigel in the feature, the 5.10pm David Keith Memorial Chase, partnering Templehills in the five-runner field, the seven-year-old down four pounds after his last run when fourth at Warwick in a higher grade event.
Main rival is Fakenham regular Princeton Royale, under Trevor Whelan for Neil King, the gelding a runner-up over course and distance in February.
At 4.35pm Twiston-Davies rides Nicholls' Captain Buck's in the six-runner novice chase, the gelding last seen midfield in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir chase at the Cheltenham Festival. Sam Red under Harry Skelton for brother Dan, looks the threat, the gelding a winner at the north Norfolk track in October.
Act Of Valour, ninth in the Fred Winter Juvenile Hurdle at Cheltenham, is Twiston-Davies' ride for Nicholls in the 3.25pm novice hurdle where he takes on Pacific De Baune under Nico de Boinville for Henderson. The five-year-old grey gelding was a Newbury winner a fortnight ago while Ben Pauling runs Oistrakh Le Noir under Daryl Jacob in an intriguing six-runner two-miler.
Pauling has a chance in the 4pm handicap hurdle with Le Breuil, under De Boinville, midfield in the Coral Cup at Cheltenham, although Indian Hawk for Jacob and Henderson could go off market leader despite being pulled up last time at Sandown.
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If things have gone well for Twiston-Davies earlier, he could finish the day in style on his father's debutant Earlofthecotswolds in the bumper at 5.40pm. But the one to beat may be Henderson's Before Midnight, a winner on debut at Bangor.
Racing starts at 2.15pm with a hurdle featuring a field of eight, headed by Skelton's Ashkoul under Norfolk-based Fergus Gregory. Gregarious for Lucy Wadham and Walsingham Grange for Pam Sly go, having been first and third respectively at Towcester three weeks ago.
The 2.50pm chase could go to Global Domination under Sean Bowen although former Fakenham winner Heresmynumber, and Little Windmill, another former course winner, may have other ideas.
Gates open at 11am and admission is a discounted £10 per adult.
Selections: 2.15pm Gregarious; 2.50pm Global Domination; 3.25pm Oistrakh Le Noir; 4pm Indian Hawk; 4.35pm Sam Red; 5.10pm Templehills; 5.40pm Éclair De Guye.