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Big Casino ready to take his chance in the Norfolk National at Fakenham

PUBLISHED: 06:03 09 May 2017

Jonnie Skull races for the 203rd time in his career in Fakenhams 2.10pm opening selling hurdle this afternoon. Picture: ARCHANT

Jonnie Skull races for the 203rd time in his career in Fakenhams 2.10pm opening selling hurdle this afternoon. Picture: ARCHANT

Archant 2016

The longest race of the year at Fakenham takes centre stage this afternoon with the running of the Snellings Norfolk National over three miles and five furlongs at the north Norfolk track.

With the backing of Snellings, the race, which has attracted 10 runners, is worth £25,000 with £16,000 to the winner.

Likely favourite is the Nigel Twiston-Davies trained Big Casino under Joshua Moore, the 11-year-old gelding a winner over the same distance at Warwick on April 24.

His main rival is Queen Spud, ridden by promising youngster Harry Cobden for Henry Daly. The eight-year-old mare is no stranger to Fakenham, having won over three miles there in November. Her last run saw her fifth of 12 at Haydock.

Nick Schofield rides the Paul Henderson trained Talk of the South, a Warwick runner-up last time while Caroline Bailey’s Carli King is also of interest. The race gets under way at 3.40pm.

There may be only four runners in the 3.10pm novice hurdle but they represent three of the country’s leading trainers.

Alan King has Fortified Bay under Wayne Hutchinson, the five-year-old runner-up at Warwick last time while new champion trainer Nicky Henderson runs Ascot winner Tales of the Tweed under Nico De Boinville. The man he pipped to the trainer’s title, Paul Nicholls, sends out Cobden on the April Exeter winner Trevisani.

The opener, at 2.10pm, the selling hurdle, features 11-year-old Jonnie Skull, having his 203rd career start. A couple of years ago Jonnie Skull had five flat successes at Great Yarmouth in one season and he has also scored over the smaller obstacles at Fakenham where, in this race last year, he was fourth. Jack Quinlan rides Phil McEntee’s old stager, seventh over a mile at Brighton earlier this month.

David Noonan partners Jennie Candish’s Tommy The Rascal, favourite for the 2.40pm Snellings Chase. The seven-year-old has been very consistent although Ohms Law, a Market Rasen winner, looks a danger.

Jack Sherwood and Lucy Wadham have Mystic Sky, a course winner in the 4.10pm mares’ hurdle while the closing 4.40pm Turner Trophy Hunter Chase looks between Monsieur Gibraltar and Legend To Be.

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