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Fakenham Racecourse bursting at the seams for traditional New Year’s Day meeting




Fakenham racecourse was bursting at the seams for its traditional New Year’s Day meeting with a holiday crowd of thousands packed into the course.

A seven-race card on good going in cold but dry weather made for a perfect sporting afternoon to kick off the new decade.

The opening Happy New Year Selling Hurdle over two miles and four furlongs was won by top weight Wells De Lune, ridden from the front by claiming jockey Peter Bryan for trainer Peter Bowen.

New Year's Day Horse Racing 2020 at the Fakenham Course.Picture By Paul Marsh.Large crowds watching from the stands. (25722192)
New Year's Day Horse Racing 2020 at the Fakenham Course.Picture By Paul Marsh.Large crowds watching from the stands. (25722192)

Fancied by the experts but friendless in the market the pairing were never headed and held on well up the final straight ahead of the fast-finishing favourite, Airton.

At auction the bidding was keen with Wells De Lune finally bought for £14,000.

New Year's Day Horse Racing 2020 at the Fakenham Course.Picture By Paul Marsh. (25721935)
New Year's Day Horse Racing 2020 at the Fakenham Course.Picture By Paul Marsh. (25721935)

The Amateur Riders Chase over the marathon distance of three miles and five furlongs was a gruelling affair which went to Clondaw Bisto, under Zac Baker, giving the nine-year-old its first win of the season.

In midfield for much of the race and trailing Velvet Cognac round the final turn, the Suzy Smith-trained mount showed his best form to win in a tight finish.

New Year's Day Horse Racing 2020 at the Fakenham Course.Picture By Paul Marsh.Parade ring after one of the Races.. (25721936)
New Year's Day Horse Racing 2020 at the Fakenham Course.Picture By Paul Marsh.Parade ring after one of the Races.. (25721936)

Favourite Haafapiece was given a great ride by Jack Andrews in the Fakenham Racecourse Hurdle over two miles and four furlongs.

Trained at her Peterborough yard by Pam Sly, the seven-year-old was held up for much of the race, but once taking the lead from Sleep Easy up the straight was able to pull away by three lengths.

New Year's Day Horse Racing 2020 at the Fakenham Course.Picture By Paul Marsh.Race Action from the 5th Race of the day. (25721939)
New Year's Day Horse Racing 2020 at the Fakenham Course.Picture By Paul Marsh.Race Action from the 5th Race of the day. (25721939)

The Norfolk’s Finest Drinkers Hurdle over three miles was an open affair with the lead constantly changing hands.

Outsider Cougar Kid threatened in the final mile but a decisive move by Be My Sea, under Lee Edwards, got him home in just under a length from McCrackens Gate.

New Year's Day Horse Racing 2020 at the Fakenham Course.Picture By Paul Marsh.Race Action from the 4th Race of the day. (25722075)
New Year's Day Horse Racing 2020 at the Fakenham Course.Picture By Paul Marsh.Race Action from the 4th Race of the day. (25722075)

The Mares Chase of two miles and five furlongs was convincingly won by the oldest horse in the race, Bennys Girl aged 12 and ridden by Shane Quinlan.

They saw off favourite Stonebrigg Legend to scoot home by 15 lengths.

New Year's Day Horse Racing 2020 at the Fakenham Course.Picture By Paul Marsh.Race Action from the 4th Race of the day. (25722077)
New Year's Day Horse Racing 2020 at the Fakenham Course.Picture By Paul Marsh.Race Action from the 4th Race of the day. (25722077)

The same margin of victory but with more drama decided the Happy New Year Maiden Hurdle over two miles.

A nail-biting finish was on the cards at the last until Bran, under Ciaran Gethings, took a tumbling fall to provide Waterproof, ridden by Brendan Powell, with an easy passage to the line.

New Year's Day Horse Racing 2020 at the Fakenham Course.Picture By Paul Marsh.Race Action from the 3rd Race of the day. (25722080)
New Year's Day Horse Racing 2020 at the Fakenham Course.Picture By Paul Marsh.Race Action from the 3rd Race of the day. (25722080)

It had not been a great day for favourite backers but the last Maiden Hurdle, also over two miles, brought out the best in Imperil, ridden by Joshua Moore, for Newmarket trainer Nick Littmodem.

New Year's Day Horse Racing 2020 at the Fakenham Course.Picture By Paul Marsh.Celebrations underway. (25722195)
New Year's Day Horse Racing 2020 at the Fakenham Course.Picture By Paul Marsh.Celebrations underway. (25722195)

He was cheered all the way up the final straight for a convincing 10 length victory.

The next meeting at Fakenham is on Thursday, January 23.

New Year's Day Horse Racing 2020 at the Fakenham Course.Picture By Paul Marsh.Keeping the Fences in good shape. (25722204)
New Year's Day Horse Racing 2020 at the Fakenham Course.Picture By Paul Marsh.Keeping the Fences in good shape. (25722204)

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