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Fakenham prepares for season opener

PUBLISHED: 11:34 17 October 2017

Occasionally Yours will go inthe 2.40pm Download the ATR App Handicap Hurdle at Fakenham on Friday. Picture: Ian Burt

Occasionally Yours will go inthe 2.40pm Download the ATR App Handicap Hurdle at Fakenham on Friday. Picture: Ian Burt

More than 80 runners have been initially declared for the opening National Hunt Racing meeting of the season at Fakenham on Friday.

Paul Nicholls enjoyed success at Fakenham last year with Keltus. Picture: Ian Burt Paul Nicholls enjoyed success at Fakenham last year with Keltus. Picture: Ian Burt

The six-race card, the first of 13-meetings scheduled for the 2017/18 season at the popular north Norfolk course, features two chases and four hurdle contests.

And Her Majesty The Queen could open the Fakenham campaign with a winner when her four-year-old Sunshade, trained by Nicky Henderson, runs in the 3.50pm Your Jumps Season Guide at ATR Novice Hurdle. The filly returns to Fakenham where she scored in a NH flat race in April under Jeremiah McGrath.

Feature race is the 4.25pm class 3 Visit ATR.com Handicap Chase worth more than £8,000. Paul Nicholls took the contest last year with Keltus and has declared Boa Island, the seven-year-old having been well behind Rock the Kasbah at Chepstow on Saturday.

Last year’s corresponding meeting brought a double for the Skelton brothers.

Trainer Paul Nicholls will be looking for victory in the feature race at Fakenham on Friday with Boa Island. Picture: PA Trainer Paul Nicholls will be looking for victory in the feature race at Fakenham on Friday with Boa Island. Picture: PA

Trainer Dan and jockey Harry look sure to be among the winners again, the stable having named 11 runners for the meeting, the final declarations for which will be known on Thursday.

Provided the five-year-old mare takes her chance, Momella could take all the beating for the Skeltons in the 5pm finale, having won at Newbury in May in a class three contest.

The Skeltons also have Sam Red in the 3.15pm ATR Sky 415 Novice Chase worth almost £8,000. Sam Red won at Stratford earlier this month and is just five pounds higher in the weights for what looks set to be another competitive encounter.

One definite runner will be the Alan Blackmore trained veteran Occasionally Yours. The 13-year-old gelding has won eight times in 76 career starts, including at Fakenham back in May 2015, and last tasted success at Huntingdon in May, 2016.

Tabitha Worsley will take the mount on Occasionally Yours who goes in the 2.40pm Download the ATR App Handicap Hurdle.

The first race is at 2.05pm and the last of the six races starts at 5pm. Gates open at 11am and tickets, which are priced from £10 upwards, can be bought on the day.

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