The Ultimate Guide to Fakenham Racecourse

FakenhamFakenham Racecourse is situated on the outskirts of the town with the same name in the county of Norfolk in the east of England. It lies 25 miles north of Norwich, 20 miles east of King's Lynn and 13 miles south of Holkham Beach on the north Norfolk coast. The history of racing in the vicinity of Fakenham can be traced back to 1884, but the first meeting at the racecourse in its current location took place on Easter Monday 1905. When racing resumed after World War II, in 1947, an additional Whit Monday fixture was added and the racecourse has undergone significant alteration and development right up to the present day. Annual fixtures increased from two to five under the auspices of Fakenham Racecourse Limited, formed in 1965 and, today, Fakenham hosts eleven fixtures throughout the year.

For racegoers, Fakenham Racecourse offers a choice of the Members' Enclosure, with an admission price of £18 per person, the Grandstand & Paddock Enclosure, with an admission price of £13 per person and the Course Enclosure, with an admission price of £8 per person. Admission to all three enclosures is free for accompanied children.

On days other than racedays, Fakenham Racecourse offers a range of flexible spaces suitable for conferences, exhibitions, meetings and seminars. The Prince of Wales Stand offers over 2,800 square feet of floor space and is capable of accommodating up to 160 people. For smaller gatherings, such as training courses and workshops, private boxes with balconies and views over the racecourse are available.

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Getting there

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What's unique about the course at Fakenham?

Fakenham Guide
Fakenham is a left-handed, sharp, square-shaped track, approximately one mile around, with pronounced undulations. There are six fences per circuit and a run-in of 250 yards. The sharp turns and undulations means that Fakenham is better suited to handy, front-running horses than big, long-striding horses.

Notable Races and Events

RomanescoThe principal race on the Fakenham calendar is the Kettle Chips Handicap Chase, which is run over 3 miles 110 yards in October and is worth £14,621 to the winner. In 2012, the race was won by Gordon Elliott's 7-year-old Romanesco, who went on to finish third in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup at the Cheltenham Festival and was in the process of running an excellent race when falling at the last, still in contention, in the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse.

In November 2012, 17-year-old jockey Brendan Powell was banned for 14 days after taking the wrong course when poised to win a conditional jockeys' handicap chase on Chris Gordon's 7-year-old Benny The Swinger. Rather than staying left alongside the winning post, Powell mistakenly jumped the last fence from the previous circuit and, in so doing, became the latest in a long line of jockeys to incur the wrath of the Fakenham stewards for one reason or another. In the past, Noel Fehilly, Rodi Greene, Denis O'Regan and Sam Thomas, to name but a few, have been banned for taking the wrong course, jumping a dolled-off flight and riding a finish too soon at Fakenham.

Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, visited Fakenham Racecourse in her hundredth year, 2000 and although racing on the day succumbed to the weather, it was still a memorable day. More recently, work was completed on a new members' stand, named “The Prince of Wales Stand”, at a cost of £1 million in 2002 and opened by Charles, Prince of Wales on March 15 that year.

Fakenham Racecourse celebrated its centenary in 2005. As part of the celebrations, it staged an exhibition of Fakenham racing memorabilia, which it launched at its Centenary Race Meeting. The exhibition also went to the Norfolk Show, the Holkham County Fair and other venues in Norfolk later in the year.

Richard JohnsonIn May 2010, Bob Champion, who rode Aldaniti to victory in the Grand National in 1981, visited Fakenham Racecourse as part of his attempt to visit all 60 British racecourses in 60 days. He was joined at the course by actor John Hurt, who played him in the movie “Champions” and had recently moved into a new home in Norfolk.

Top Owners, Jockeys and Trainers

Richard Johnson is the leading jockey at Fakenham over the last five seasons with 18 winners from 49 rides and is a little way ahead of Tony McCoy with 14 winners from 44 rides and Paul Moloney with 11 winners from 57 rides. Nicky Henderson holds a slender lead in the trainers' table for the same period with 19 runners from 45 runners, just ahead of Tim Vaughan with 18 winners from 67 runners and Evan Williams with 16 winners from 51 runners.

R.E.R. Williams is far and away the most successful owner over the last five seasons with 10 winners from 19 runners, although Her Majesty the Queen with 5 winners from 8 runners and the Ravenstone Partnership with an astonishing 5 winners from just 6 runners are also worth an honourable mention.

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