Will the Queen have a say in Fakenham's main event?
PUBLISHED: 15:37 02 February 2018 | UPDATED: 15:37 02 February 2018
Fakenham's feature race at its meeting on Wednesday looks set to be a cracking three-mile hurdle contest at 3.05pm.
There are 14 entries at the five-day stage for the Download the ATR App Handicap Hurdle, including Harry Whittington’s eight-year-old gelding Octagon. After winning at Southwell in November, Octagon went on to complete a hat-trick with further victories at Leicester, and then at Sedgefield on Boxing Day.
There may be a royal runner in opposition in the shape of six-year-old gelding Take To Heart. Owned by the Queen and trained by Nicky Henderson, the gelding won twice in June before finishing down the field in November at Ascot.
Prolific Fakenham scorer Olly Murphy trained four winners at the last Fakenham meeting, taking his tally for the season to 12 at the course, and most have entries again.
Bisoubisou and Flow With Eve, first and second last time, and Hurricane Rita, also a Fakenham winner at the last meeting, are all entered in the 3.35pm Toftrees Mares Handicap Hurdle.
Murphy has six entries in the opener, the Sculthorpe Maiden Hurdle at ,2pm including Swaffham Bulbeck, a four-year-old gelding second at Warwick a fortnight ago on stable debut.
Provided he makes the long trip from northern trainer Donald McCain’s yard, Nefyn Bay looks interesting if taking his chance in the 2.30pm Lycetts Handicap Chase over three miles, the horse markedly up in trip after winning at Musselburgh in Scotland last month.
The second chase is the 4.05pm Shereford Handicap Chase in which Murphy has entered Wood Pigeon, a scorer under champion jockey Richard Johnson at the last Fakenham meeting. Johnson is the leading rider at Fakenham this season, with seven victories in the bag, making him the clear leader in the race for the course’s David Turner Trophy.
Southern trainer Gary Moore has entered Stoical Patient, the nine-year-old mare a Plumpton faller when bidding for a hat-trick after victories at that course, and neighbouring Fontwell, earlier in the season.
The finale is the 4.35pm Raynham Novice Hurdle in which Stuart Edmunds may run six-year-old Kalochi, very impressive when scoring for the first time in her career at the north Norfolk course back in November. Since then the mare has won again, at Leicester, after previously finishing third at Huntingdon on Boxing Day.