It could be a good day for the Skeltons as Fakenham prepares for start of National Hunt season
PUBLISHED: 06:00 20 October 2017
Trainer Dan Skelton is looking to scoop up the prize money on offer when Fakenham racecourse starts its 2017/18 National Hunt season with a six-race card today.
Skelton has high hopes in five of the six races which will take place on ground officially described as good.
It is only in the 4.25pm feature race, the £8,000 Visit ATR.com chase over three miles, that Skelton has no contender.
Favourite is trainer Pam Sly’s six-year-old grey mare Actinpieces, ridden by Gina Andrews. The horse won at the course in January 2016 although fell at Haydock last time out in April having previously scored at Catterick.
Catamaran Du Seuil under Aidan Coleman for Dr Richard Newland looks the main rival, the gelding midfield at Market Rasen in September having earlier won at Carlisle. He is Coleman’s only ride of the day.
But the feature apart, the day could belong to Skelton. Bridget Andrews rides his Honkytonktennessee in the opening 2.05pm Samantha Cole Conditional Jockeys’ Selling Hurdle, the gelding a former Stratford winner. Favourite is Cliffside Park under 10-pound claimer Fergus Gregory for trainer Olly Murphy.
One For Billy under Harry Skelton for brother Dan, is the market leader for the 2.40pm handicap hurdle, the five-year-old a Hexham winner in May. Sarah Humphrey’s Knight’s Parade looks the main rival of the other six runners.
The Skeltons, with Sam Red, face a battle with many times champion trainer Paul Nicholls in the four-runner ATR Novice Chase over three miles at 3.15pm. Sam Red is a previous Stratford winner while Nicholls puts up five-pound claimer Bryony Frost on Bagad Bihoue, who won four times on the bounce between May and July.
Holryale for the Skeltons looks to have a winning chance in the 3.50pm novice hurdle, having been runner-up twice since winning a bumper at Uttoxeter, although Ataman, formerly trained on the flat by Chris Wall at Newmarket, could be interesting on hurdles debut for Olly Murphy.
Just three go in the finale at 5pm when the Skeltons’ Momella should win the novice hurdle, the mare having won a higher grade contest at Newton Abbott last time when having her first run for the stable since switching from point-to-point racing.