Countryside day at racecourse

Fakenham Racecourse is staging its ninth annual Countryside Counts Raceday on Friday, February 15 at which country sports are put firmly on the racing agenda.

Fakenham Racecourse is staging its ninth annual Countryside Counts Raceday on Friday, February 15 at which country sports are put firmly on the racing agenda. The date of this race meeting is particularly poignant as it falls three years to the day after the controversial and highly emotive ban on hunting with hounds was introduced.

Chief executive and clerk of the course David Hunter said: “Through our race meeting I hope to remind this legislation-hungry government that the hunting issue has not gone away, that the act was travesty of justice, a gross abuse of human rights and that the resolve to have the law repealed is as strong as ever.”

Fakenham will also be running its annual amateur charity race on the day at 12.30 pm. The race raises money for the Countryside Alliance and local charities and is run on the flat, over one and a half miles with 12 riders.

Each rider carries 12 stone. The amateur riders are all from East Anglia and are passionate about their hunting. They all regularly ride but have precious little race riding experience. Four women and three men are taking part including 70 year old Fred Farrow who will be the eldest person to date to compete in the race. The youngest is Phoebe Carman whose father Chris is a local farrier and amateur huntsman of the North Norfolk Harriers.

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“I first ran this race eight years ago and I am delighted that it has gone from strength to strength and is proving to be a very popular event with riders and the racing public. Each rider has to find a suitable horse, raise a minimum of £750 sponsorship and get themselves and their horse fit,” explained Hunter.

“They are all taking it seriously, but without losing their sense of humour, and all of them have attended a day's training at the British Racing School in Newmarket. This year, with the third anniversary of the hunting bill, it is even more important for those of us who value our freedom to get behind these jockeys and support them and the Countryside Raceday.”

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Last year's race raised £17,500 of which £9,100 went to the Norfolk Countryside Alliance. Over the last six years over £140,000 has been raised in total by the race. The Alliance will once again benefit from this year's race and much of the money raised will be used to fund The Norfolk Countryside Alliance Education Day for Norfolk school children at the Sennow Estate in mid Norfolk on May14.

A pack of hounds will parade on the course in front of the grandstands at 12.50pm and The Roundabout Terrier Racing Roadshow will operate between races in the course enclosure. The first National Hunt race is off at 1.30pm.

The cost of admission is: Members £17; Grandstand & Paddock £12 and Course Enclosure £7 per adult with children 16 and under free.

Amateur Race 12.30 pm, National Hunt Racing starts at 1.25 pm.

For any further information and for a full list of runners and riders for the Charity Race please contact David Hunter on: 01328 862388 or mobile 07767 802206.

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