‘We want to hit the floor running’ - Racecourse prepares for return with bumper prize pot
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
A Norfolk racecourse says it will still be providing healthy prize money as it returns after coronavirus lockdown - having thrived as a campsite while racing was on hold.
Fakenham Racecourse will welcome racing back on October 16 either behind closed doors or with a limited number of spectators.
The racecourse has said that it will contribute a minimum of £22,000 of its own money towards the prize pot on each of the five-race days that remain in 2020, as well as having two handicap races that qualify for prize money bonuses.
When their money is added to Horse Racing Betting Levy Board and British Horseracing Authority grants, each race meeting will offer over £60,000 for a six or seven-race card.
Clerk of the course David Hunter said: “Race prize money is essential for the well being of the sport and Fakenham has always proudly committed as much as it can to the prize money pot.
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“We want to hit the floor running and offer the best possible racing experience to owners, trainers, jockeys and all those professionals involved in this great sport.
“In this time of covid uncertainty, that commitment remains as strong as ever.”
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The racecourse, which lost three meetings at the end of last season are also offering a double up bonus to encourage more entries as well as fun, interest and excitement into the races.
If the winning horse in each bonus race, on the same day, is trained by the same trainer then the winning owner of each race will get an extra £2,000 added to their prize money.
Since they stopped racing, the racecourse has run entirely as a campsite.
With the popularity of the staycation as a result of the pandemic, it has been a glimmer of hope.
“Like all racecourses, we have had a very difficult time since Covid raised its ugly head in March,” he said.
“It could have been a lot worse against that gloomy backdrop, we are grateful that our caravan and camping site has been very popular with guests.”
The course is now preparing to be Covid safe, with buildings and facilities being made to accommodate coronavirus protocols. With race day staff being trained in new procedures.