January 8, 2020

Fakenham Racecourse

In last month’s OCP magazine I looked at Newbury racecourse. This month I’m

heading to East Anglia and the small but homely National Hunt track at Fakenham

As before in this series of articles on British racecourses, I will look briefly at the track’s location, history, configuration and will also highlight some significant track stats.

History and Location

Fakenham racecourse is in the county of Norfolk, located just a mile south of the market town of the same name. Racing takes place at the course throughout the winter.

Racing in the area first began at East Winch, near to Kings Lynn in the late 19th century where the West Norfolk Hunt raced. Persistent heavy ground at that venue saw the Hunt look for a more suitable site. They eventually settled on the site of the present

racecourse. The first meeting at the venue took place on Easter Monday 1905. The meeting proved such a success that hurdle races where introduced in 1926. The course is no longer run by the local Hunt but remains the location for West Norfolk Hunt’s Point to Point fixtures.

You would hardly say many places in England are remote, but Fakenham is one of those places. The best way to get to the track is drive.

For those coming by public transport the two nearest mainline train stations from the course are Kings Lynn, about 20 miles away and Norwich about 25 miles away. 

Then it’s either the X8 bus service from Kings Lynn or the X29 service from Norwich which both run past the racecourse.

One of the tracks biggest races of its season is the Fakenham Silver Cup a two-mile handicap hurdle that is run each spring. The most valuable race is the Norfolk National a handicap chase run over a marathon 3m 5f.

Track Configuration

A left-handed course, almost square in shape, with a circumference of about a mile. The steeplechase course is situated to the outside of the hurdle course and consists of six fences per circuit, with the open ditch as the penultimate obstacle.

It’s a very tight track and the run in from the last, both over fences and hurdles, is a short one.

Given the sharp nature of the track you would expect it to suit the nippier type rather than big galloping horses. That is partially correct but given the ground can be more testing than the official going description suggests you still need a horse that has the stamina to see out the distance of its race.

Front runners and horse that can jump quickly do well at the course. Getting a good

position around the tight bends can be vital in a race and the short run in after the last means hold up horses don’t have much time to catch the more prominently run rivals.

Situated on the outside of the hurdle course and consisting of six fences per circuit is the steeplechase course.

Fakenham Racecourses Stats

As ever let’s begin by looking at some general stats including favourite stats at the course since 2015.

The stats below are from Jan 1st, 2015 to the time of writing (10/12/19) and cover all jump meetings at the course.

Once again, I am using the ever useful www.horseracebase.com for all the stats.

Let’s begin by looking at some general meeting stats from the last five years. Beginning with the fate of the favourites both clear and joint.

The results below contain 364 winners from 2314 runners 765 placed

Favourites

Clear favourites have produced the following set of results:

101 winners from 307 runners 33% -39.98 A/E 0.89 183 placed 60 %

Breaking those results down into handicap & non-handicap races gives us:

Non-handicap – 58 winners from 140 runners 41% -13.62 A/E 0.91 99 placed 71%

Chase – 22 winners from 39 runners 56% -3.43 A/E 0.93 23 placed 59%

Hurdle – 33 winners from 87 runners 38% -17.86 A/E 0.78 61 placed 70%

NHF – 5 winners from 15 runners 33% -6.02 A/E 0.66 10 placed 67%

Handicaps – 64 winners from 196 runners 26% -26.36 A/E 0.85 116 placed 59%

Chase – 31 winners from 95 runners 33% -15.69 A/E 0.85 52 placed 55%

Hurdles – 33 winners from 101 runners 33% -17.31 A/E 0.86 64 placed 63%

Digging a bit deeper let’s focus on favourites that won their last race and those

favourites who had finished outside the first three on their last start.

•           Favourites that won their last race have produced – 48 winners from 120 runners 40% -3.37 A/E 0.98 74 placed 62%

•           Favourites that had finished outside the top four on their last start produced – 26 winners from 78 runners 33% -16.03 A/E 0.8 47 placed 60%.

Summary: Favourites are under performing overall at the track and only favourites that had won last time out are where you want to be regarding the all-important A/E stat.

Trainers and Favourites:

If you’re a favourite backer. Here are the best performing trainers when the money is down:

David Pipe – 5 winners from 8 runners 63% +0.07 A/E 1.08 7 placed 88%

Henry Daly – 3 winners from 5 runners 60% +4.88 A/E 1.83

Stuart Edmunds – 3 winners from 5 runners 60% + 0.41 A/E 1.04

Neil Mulholland – 8 winners from 16 runners 50% +1.26 A/E 1.13 11 placed 69%

Summary: Not many qualifiers but the above four trainers’ favourites are worth noting at Fakenham.

Jockeys and Favourites:

Which jockeys have done the business when the money is down for favourite backers?

Daryl Jacob – 3 winners from 5 runners 60% +2.96 A/E 1.71 5 placed 100%

Tom Scudamore – 4 winners from 7 runners 57% -0.48 A/E 1.11 5 placed 71%

Nico De Boinville – 8 winners from 14 runners 57% +1.52 A/E 1.14 11 placed 79%

James Bowen – 4 winners from 8 runners 50% +1.7 A/E 1.14 5 placed 63%

Ciaran Gethings – 3 winners from 6 runners 50% +1.7 A/E 1.18 5 placed 63%

General Course Stats:

•           Odds SP: 18/1 & above – 9 winners from 486 runners 2% -241 A/E 0.64 38 placed 8%

•           Previous course winners provided 63 winners from 335 runners 19% +0.18 A/E 0.97 128 placed 38%.

Summary: Given the nature of Fakenham racecourse not surprisingly it‘s a track where previous course winners do well. Nearly one in five of the races at the track have been won by a previous course winner.

Trainer Stats and Angles

Here are a few interesting trainer track stats. That will hopefully enable you to identify some winners at Fakenham’s remaining fixtures this season. 

On this occasion I have concentrated on those runners with an odds threshold of 10/1 for the handicap trainers.

  1. Trainers & Handicap Hurdle Runners (10/1 & under)

Noel Williams – 2 winners from 3 runners 67% +7.5 A/E 3.75

Jamie Snowden – 2 winners from 3 runners 67% +10 A/E 3.7

David Pipe – 3 winners from 5 runners 60% +3.62 3 placed 60% A/E 1.86

Neil Mulholland – 11 winners from 23 runners 48% +25.49 A/E 1.63 15 placed 65%

Christian Williams – 5 winners from 11 runners 45% +5.79 A/E 1.78 6 placed 55%

  • Trainers & Handicap Chase Runners (10/1 & under)

Paul Nicholls – 2 winners from 3 runners 67% +4.5 A/E 3.08

Oliver Sherwood – 5 winners from 9 runners 56% +19 A/E 2.97

Michael Scudamore – 2 winners from 4 runners 50% +3.1 A/E 1.54

Henry Daly – 3 winners from 6 runners 50% +3.13 A/E 1.63

Pam Sly – 3 winners from 8 runners 38% +0.55 A/E 1.44 4 placed 50%

  • Trainers & Race Class Handicaps (10/1 & under)

Oliver Sherwood (Class 4) – 3 winners from 6 runners 50% +15.5 A/E 3.19 4 placed 67%

Ollie Murphy (Class 5) – 8 winners from 18 runners 44% +6.96 A/E 1.42 12 placed 67%

Christian Williams (Class 5) – 4 winners from 9 runners 44% +4.04 A/E 1.58 6 placed 67%

Christian Williams (Class 4) – 4 winners from 9 runners 44% +7.25 A/E 1.68

Neil Mulholland (Class 5) – 6 winners from 14 runners 43% +4.31 A/E 1.34 8 placed 57%

Oliver Sherwood (Class 3) – 3 winners from 7 runners 43% +6 A/E 2.04

  • Trainers & NHF Races – Racecourse Debutants (All odds)

Lucy Wadham – 3 winners from 8 runners 38% +14.5 A/E 2.86 5 placed 63%

Hopefully you enjoyed this brief look at Fakenham racecourse and some of the track’s stats.

Until next time.

Featured Image: cc-by-4.0 - © Richard Humphrey - geograph.org.uk/p/4962391

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