Henderson, Nicholls and O’Neill have hopes for Fakenham meeting
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Leading National Hunt trainers Nicky Henderson, Paul Nicholls and Jonjo O'Neill have all named entries for the British EBF National Hunt Novice Hurdle over two and a half miles, one of the leading contests on a seven-race card at Fakenham on Friday.
The 2.45pm race sees a quartet entered from Henderson's yard, Du Destin, Duke Debarry, Settie Hill and Rebel Commander, the latter twice runner-up in National Hunt flat races and now making a hurdling debut.
O'Neill has Huntingdon winner Django Django among the 23 entries while Nicholls has Captain Cattistock entered, the five-year-old bidding for a hat-trick after twice winning at Wincanton, in November and earlier this month.
Olly Murphy, already with 12 winners at Fakenham this season, has Market Rasen winner Ballingslea Bridge in the provisional line-up as well as Piri Massini, a winner at the course at the last meeting.
Murphy, having a superb first full season as a trainer with close to 40 winners, has two former Fakenham scorers entered in the opener, the selling handicap hurdle at 1.40pm, in the shape of Bisoubisou and grey mare Hurricane Rita.
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Feature race is the 3.20pm Tim Barclay Memorial Handicap Chase over two miles and five furlongs for which 15 have been entered including Murphy's former course winner Wood Pigeon, who may be turned out again quickly having unseated the rider when running at Towcester last week.
Former course winner Cody Wyoming has been entered by Charlie Mann while last time out winners Rear Admiral, representing Mick Easterby, a Newcastle winner, and Until Winning, from Tom George's stable, a Market Rasen January winner, are also in the provisional line-up.
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George also has an interesting potential contender in the finale, the 4.55pm Maiden Open NH Flat Race in Stop The World. The five-year-old gelding has a first run for George since joining from Sean Doyle's Irish stable where he was runner-up in a point-to-point at Quakerstown last April.
The predicted going for Friday's meeting is heavy and other contests on the card are the 2.10pm Lycetts Farm and Estate Insurance Brokers Novice Chase over two miles, the 3.50pm Lycetts Bloodstock Insurance Brokers Novices' Handicap Hurdle over three miles and the 4.25pm William Bulwer Long Memorial Hunters' Chase over three miles.