Jumps racing has been taking place at Fakenham for over 110 years. The West Norfolk Hunt originally held just one meeting a year, which took place on Easter Monday, but a second meeting was incorporated on Whitsun Bank Holiday Monday in 1947. This was extended to five meetings in 1965, and the course currently holds thirteen meetings per year. The course also enjoys ties with the Royal family, as the Prince of Wales is the patron and the Queen Mother visited here whilst still alive.
Below are some key facts about Fakenham Racecourse.
Course Type: Jumps
Current Owner: Fakenham Racecourse Ltd
Fakenham Racecourse is just under a mile long and almost square in nature, though the four corners are tight bends rather than right-angles. It features both hurdles and chases, with the chase course featuring six fences on each circuit. The nature of the course tends to lend itself to strong-travelling types that can sit on the pace or just off it, especially on good or faster ground.
Meanwhile, though the fences aren’t the stiffest, good jumping is usually a must if you don’t want to lose your position. When the ground rides soft or heavy, stamina becomes much more of a premium, though it is still hard to race wide on the course as you have to race much further than those horses that secure a position near the rails. There is also a very short run after the last fence, meaning there isn’t much time for a jockey to galvanize his horse into mounting a challenge if behind at the last.
Racing at Fakenham tends to start in October and finish in June. The schedule takes in festive periods like Christmas and New Year, whilst maintaining its historical Easter Monday Fixture.
One of the biggest races held at Fakenham is the Fakenham Silver Handicap Hurdle. The race takes place in March over 2 miles and 3 yards and carries a first prize of around £10,000. Recent winners include Highland Fling and Potters Midnight.
However, Fakenham’s biggest race is now The Snelling Norfolk National, a race that carries a first prize of around £20,000 and takes place over a stamina sapping 3 miles 5 furlongs and 24 yards. This means runners have to navigate about 3¾ circuits of Fakenham Racecourse. Previous winners include Amiral Collonges and Emerald Rose.
Fakenham closes its season with the Jarrold Ladies Day in June and, though the racing might not be as good as at some other meetings, plenty of the locals use this summer meeting as an excuse to put on their finest outfits and enjoy a picnic on the grass.
Fakenham Racecourse does not operate a strict dress code, but smart casual is the preferred attire of many frequent visitors. The course also recommends that racegoers consider the weather forecast before picking their outfit for the day, as much of the racing at Fakenham takes place during the winter months. When frequenting the members enclosure or hospitality areas, men will often be found in a jacket or suit, whilst many ladies wear a dress, weather permitting. However, as many areas are grassed, please consider your footwear wisely. Visitors tend to make Ladies Day a special occasion, with most gentlemen wearing a shirt and tie and ladies wearing a dress.
Fakenham is the only racecourse in Norfolk.
The Prince of Wales is the patron of Fakenham Racecourse.
The Queen Mother visited Fakenham Racecourse when she was 100-years-old. Sadly, the race meeting was abandoned that day, but the Queen Mother still had lunch here.
Address and Contact Details
Fakenham Racecourse Ltd, The Racecourse, Fakenham, Norfolk NR21 7NY