Despite plenty of frosty mornings in January, all three race meetings at our track went ahead across the month as planned.
The only one requiring an inspection before getting the go-ahead was the most recent. In every respect the ground staff have been exceptional under the watchful eye of clerk of the course David Hunter.
It was no surprise that the biggest attendance by far was for the New Year’s Day meeting which since its inception a few years back has become a firm favourite with regulars and the holiday crowd. With plenty of jump racing scheduled elsewhere across the country, most of the big names bypassed us but I was delighted with the presence of top jockeys Leighton Aspell and Paul Moloney on the six-race card.
Champion jockey Tony McCoy came for just one ride on January 13 and duly made it count with an 11-4 winner, much to the pleasure of his happy band of followers. Even though the season still has three months to go he is already assured of taking his 20th successive championship title with over 190 wins on the board and his nearest rival some 70 behind. There’s speculation that he may retire from riding this year and pursue other challenges. I won’t believe it until it happens.
On January 22 trainer Michael Gates brought his 10-year-old gelding Full Ov Beans from his Stratford yard to renew a long-standing relationship with Fakenham. This remarkable horse has already won six times here – the last being on December 21,2014 – and was bidding to make it seven despite upping in class and running further than usual. He did his level best under claiming jockey Mikey Hamill, adopting his usual tactics of running from the front. But the fairy tale on this occasion did not have a happy ending with our hero just overhauled in the final couple of furlongs. Still, it was a very noble effort. Whenever I go racing I delight in small pleasures. So it was a bit special to take a photo of McCoy being interviewed by former Gold Cup winning rider Mick Fitzgerald after his success and to have the picture included with my race report in the Lynn News. The next day these two were sitting side-by-side on the settee as part of The Morning Line presentation which always goes out on Channel 4 on Saturday race days. And then the following week to have a similar scenario, but this time with Tom Scudamore, who had ridden a double here, filling the photo slot and also taking part in the same Saturday morning programme.
I couldn’t have scripted it better myself. And should you be feeling a little bit positive, the next meeting is scheduled for Friday, February 13 – lucky for some. First race due off at 1.30pm.
This coming Saturday, February 7, sees the second annual Fakenham Wedding Show in the impressive surroundings of our parish church.
The event is again being organised by Donna Procter-Wood of Brides of Norfolk and Keith Osborn Photography in association with Fakenham Area Business Community. Donna started up her shop on the market square here in 2013 and for this show is especially excited to be presenting an exclusive Venus designer range weekend in church and in her shop on the Sunday. There will be a 10 per cent discount on all Venus orders.
You can make an appointment with her for either day on 01328 851943.
The show, which is free to enter, runs from 11am to 4pm with the church appropriately decorated plus live music, a bridal cat walk, wedding cake tastings, a toastmaster and much more. Keith can be contacted on 01328 856700.