Un­der or­ders:

Rac­ing writer Terry Red­head on the dif­fer­ent de­lights of the county’s two race­courses

EDP Norfolk - - INSIDE - great­yarmouth-race­course.co.uk fak­en­ham­race­course.co.uk

Nor­folk’s fine horse race­courses

If you are a fan of horse rac­ing, Nor­folk is a per­fect bet to win your af­fec­tions. For in Great Yar­mouth and Fak­en­ham race­courses, Nor­folk has win­ners in pro­vid­ing both codes of the sport; flat rac­ing on the east coast and Na­tional Hunt rac­ing in the north of the county. Nei­ther would claim to ri­val As­cot or New­mar­ket of the flat rac­ing world or Chel­tenham or Ain­tree of the jump rac­ing scene, but both have tra­di­tions of pro­vid­ing ex­cit­ing rac­ing and ex­cel­lent hos­pi­tal­ity.

Great Yar­mouth’s sea­son started with the first 2019

meet­ing on April 23. That will be the first of 23 meet­ings tak­ing place be­fore the end of Oc­to­ber; 19 in the af­ter­noon with four even­ing dates, in­clud­ing the pop­u­lar Ladies’ Night, on Wed­nes­day, July 17.

High­light of the sea­son is the three-day fes­ti­val on Tues­day, Wed­nes­day and Thurs­day, Septem­ber 17, 18 and 19.

Owned by Arena Rac­ing Com­pany, Great Yar­mouth at­tracts lead­ing train­ers and jock­eys, par­tic­u­larly those based at New­mar­ket. I’ve seen, over many years, fa­mous train­ers like the late Sir Henry Ce­cil in the queue at the soli­tary ice cream van on a bak­ing hot sum­mer’s day.

I’ve wit­nessed Frankie Det­tori chased from pa­rade ring to weigh­ing room by young­sters and se­nior cit­i­zens, de­ter­mined to snaf­fle an au­to­graph or, nowa­days, a selfie.

In very few sports can a mere spectator get so close to the stars of the show… and the horses them­selves, of course.

While Great Yar­mouth is pre­par­ing for its 2019 cam­paign, Fak­en­ham is con­tin­u­ing its 2018/19 Na­tional Hunt sea­son with the Snellings Nor­folk

Na­tional, the long­est race of the Fak­en­ham year, the high­light of Tues­day, May 7’s meet­ing, be­fore the sea­son fi­nale, Jar­rold Ladies’ Day, on Sun­day, June 2.

The 2019/2020 sea­son is un­der or­ders on Fri­day, Oc­to­ber 18 with three more au­tumn and win­ter meet­ings be­fore the course greets the New Year with its an­nual Jan­uary 1 fix­ture in a pro­gramme which runs from Oc­to­ber-June.

Like Great Yar­mouth, Fak­en­ham’s rep­u­ta­tion for ex­cel­lent hos­pi­tal­ity is re­spected through­out the rac­ing world.

Again, the top train­ers and lead­ing jock­eys are fre­quent vis­i­tors to a track, de­scribed to me by 20-times, now re­tired, cham­pion jockey Sir AP McCoy as ‘one of the friendli­est cour­ses’ in the coun­try.

On his last ap­pear­ance there, I re­call McCoy’s chauf­feur-driven BMW wait­ing for him to sign race cards and fea­ture in self­ies, for at least two hours be­fore ‘the great­est jockey’ was able to ‘es­cape’ his army of supporters.

In rac­ing terms Great Yar­mouth and Fak­en­ham are re­garded as ‘mi­nor’ rather than ‘ma­jor’ venues. That, how­ever, is sim­ply part of their charm and time­less ap­peal.

‘I’ve wit­nessed Frankie Det­tori chased from pa­rade ring to weigh­ing room by young­sters and se­nior cit­i­zens, de­ter­mined to snaf­fle an au­to­graph or, nowa­days, a selfie’

OP­PO­SITE: With­out Pa­role wins the 2.55 with Frankie Det­tori in the sea­son opener at Yar­mouth

RIGHT: An­drew Lloyd Web­ber with Frankie Det­tori at the Yar­mouth Eastern Fes­ti­val horse rac­ing meet­ing

BE­LOW: AP McCoy in full flight at Fak­en­ham on Dr McFab

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