Fakenham Racecourse: experience the spirit of racing at a fraction …


Fakenham Racecourse, in Norfolk, opened in 19051 having been specially chosen by the West Norfolk hunt for its its excellent going. The first meet, which was exclusively for steeplechasers, attracted 37 runners; quite a crowd in the days before widespread motorised transport.

In the early days Fakenham hosted just 1 day s racing per year on Easter Monday. Eventually a hurdles course (with jumps), was added in 1926 but there was still only one annual race day until after WWII.

When racing resumed in 1947 more meets were added and, finally, a grandstand constructed in 1965. This transformed Fakenham from an exclusive hunt meet to a popular spectator event and it has been going from strength to strength ever since.

Of course, as race meets go, Fakenham is a tiddler compared to the marquee events, Cheltenham, Aintree and Ascot, which attract hundreds of thousands of spectators. However, as these big festivals approach, the racing at minor courses gains new significance as it can yield vital clues as to the form.

Fakenham, like the Cheltenham Festival, attracts a large proportion of Irish trained horses; so all eyes were on Fakenham for their New Years Day meet where several Cheltenham contenders were in evidence. Acertain Circus, Benissimo, Minstrels Gallers and Vision du Couer all ran well and strengthened their claim to a place in the starting line up at Cheltenham events.

Fakenham will also host a meet on February 13th which will feature no less that 4 mounts ridden by champion jockey AP McCoy2. With under 4 weeks to go until Cheltenham, McCoy clearly believes that the challenging nature of the Fakenham circuit and the stiff competition he will face will act as suitable preparation for the prestigious, lucrative but gruelling Cheltenham Festival.

Fakenham is more than a training ground for big races though it hosts some incredible action all by itself.

Top horses like Long Run, Broxbourne and Hunt Ball have all run here often going on to have sparkling careers3.

The course also maintains many of the racing traditions that make racing such an idiosyncratic and enjoyable experience. Guests will be expected, if not required, to dress smartly (sharp suits or tweeds are the order of the day). Fakenham also plays host to regular Ladies Days4 where high fashion overtakes racing as the primary concern!

Fakenham is one of many provincial courses which keep the flame of racing alive and well in Britain.

You ll get the atmosphere, excitement and quality racing you d expect at the big meets but, with tickets starting at 8, won t have to pay through the nose for the privilege!



  1. ^ opened in 1905 (www.fakenhamracecourse.co.uk)
  2. ^ ridden by champion jockey AP McCoy (www.fakenhamracecourse.co.uk)
  3. ^ to have sparkling careers (news.coral.co.uk)
  4. ^ regular Ladies Days (www.edp24.co.uk)

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Fakenham Racecourse: experience the spirit of racing at a fraction …

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