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Date change for Fakenham's New Year race meeting

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The traditional New Year’s Day meeting at Fakenham Racecourse has been moved because of coronavirus concerns.

Officials at the track this week announced that the fixture will take place three days later than normal, on Monday, January 4, in a move which they stress applies to 2021 only.

A statement published on the course’s website on Wednesday said: “We are sorry to say Fakenham Racecourse will not be racing on New Year’s Day, 1st January 2021.

Race Day at Fakenham Racecourse on Tuesday 17th November 2020..Action from the 2nd Race. (43169632)
Race Day at Fakenham Racecourse on Tuesday 17th November 2020..Action from the 2nd Race. (43169632)

“This is because of the reduction of crowd attendances and the need for British Racing to reduce the concentration of NYD race meetings during Covid 19.”

The announcement was made as the track prepares for its St Andrew’s Day meeting which takes place this Monday, November 30.

The action gets underway at 12.45pm, with the afternoon’s six races offering total prize money of more than £55,000.

The feature race is the £11,000 Testerton Handicap Chase over three miles and five furlongs, where the Charlie Mann-trained Top Up The Fashion leads the entries and will hope to go one better than his second place at the track last week.

It could also be a big day for trainer Neil Mulholland who has entered his October track winner Master Burbidge in the Shereford Handicap Chase at 1.15pm.

Another recent winner from his yard, Molliana, is engaged in the opening Pudding Norton Handicap Hurdle.

A total of 91 horses are entered across the six races, with final declarations being made tomorrow.

As with the three previous meetings at Fakenham this season, Monday’s fixture will take place behind closed doors because of the coronavirus restrictions.

However, the announcement that limited crowds will be permitted in areas not in the highest level of the government’s new tiered regime offers the hope that spectators will be able to enjoy the action in person at the track’s next fixture, the pre-Christmas meeting on December 20.

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