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Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Fakenham steps into Saturday spotlight as course hosts additional fixture

Fakenham clerk of the course David Hunter
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Fakenham's successful bid to host an additional meeting offered this week by the BHA means they will race on a Saturday – that is not New Year's Day – for the first time in chief executive David Hunter's 22-year history.

There is no shortage of problems to negotiate for a course looking to put on a fixture at the last minute but, having lost their Easter Monday fixture to the latest nationwide release of the Beast from the East franchise, Hunter whipped out his calculator and tabled what turned out to be the best offer.

"The BHA offered a replacement seven-race jumps card to every course in the country valued at £55,000, so there was a semi-bid process," he explained.

"Levy board funding was up to a maximum of £30,000, but if you took all that you might not get the fixture so I put in a bid that was successful.

"I'm very encouraged to have so many entries at such a late stage and we've been pretty frantic.

"The racecourse wouldn't run without Trudi Moulton, she's been on the phone making sure we could get all the right people on board at short notice to make it work.

"It's not just casual staff, we need vets, doctors, ambulances and we'll run it as one enclosure for £10. It's 17C, beautiful and sunny and that unknown word 'good' could well appear in the going description."

Wincanton on Monday and Hereford on Tuesday will also host addtional fixtures, while the BHA revealed four more additional jumps meetings will be organised on Sundays in April and May.

While the weather in Britain seems to have finally turned, Ireland is still suffering with both Limerick's Saturday meeting and Naas on Sunday called off. Navan, however, passed its inspection on Friday and Saturday's meeting is set to go ahead.

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We're going to make a decision one way or the other on Friday morning

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