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‘It could have been worse’ - Racecourse grateful for campsite as racing returns

PUBLISHED: 11:13 14 October 2020 | UPDATED: 11:13 14 October 2020

Fakenham racecourse sees the return of racing in October but it will operate without members of the public present due to the Covid 19 restrictions. Picture: Ian Burt

Fakenham racecourse sees the return of racing in October but it will operate without members of the public present due to the Covid 19 restrictions. Picture: Ian Burt

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An innovative plan to turn a racecourse into a campsite has been praised as a masterstroke as racing is welcomed back for the first time in months.

Chief Executive & Clerk of the Course David Hunter said without their campsite at Fakenham Racecourse things could have been a lot worse.. Picture: Ian BurtChief Executive & Clerk of the Course David Hunter said without their campsite at Fakenham Racecourse things could have been a lot worse.. Picture: Ian Burt

Fakenham racecourse sees the return of racing on October 16 but it will operate without members of the public present due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The racecourse lost three meetings at the end of last season due to the pandemic.

Clerk of the course, David Hunter said it could have been a bigger issue, had they not introduced camping at the site.

“Like all racecourses, we have had a difficult time since Covid raised its ugly head,” he said.

Due to the Covid restrictions, punters cannot pack the Prince of Wales stand at Fakenham Racecourse. Picture: Ian BurtDue to the Covid restrictions, punters cannot pack the Prince of Wales stand at Fakenham Racecourse. Picture: Ian Burt

“It could have been a lot worse and we have to be grateful that our caravan and camping site has been, and continues to be, very popular with guests.

“We want to hit the floor running on October 16 and offer the best possible racing experience to owners, trainers, jockeys and all professionals involved in this great sport.”

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The meeting will still be providing healthy prize money as it returns after the coronavirus lockdown.

The closed sign at the Fakenham Racecourse during the Coronavirus lockdown. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe closed sign at the Fakenham Racecourse during the Coronavirus lockdown. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Fakenham announced that it will contribute a minimum of £22,000 of its own money towards prize money on each of the five-race days that remain in 2020, as well as having two races per day that qualify for prize money bonuses.

“Prize money is essential for the wellbeing of the sport and Fakenham has always committed as much as it can to the pot,” Mr Hunter said.

“In a time of Covid uncertainty, that commitment remains strong and Fakenham will contribute at least £22,000 of its own funds.

“We hope to be able to do the same for 2021.”

The seven scheduled races have attracted a massive initial entry of 133 horses, including 27 for the feature hurdle contest and 17 for the feature chase.

The races offer the chance for Tayzar from Ruth Jefferson’s to bid for a hat-trick of victories in the hurdle.

While the chase sees Norfolk National winner Hepijeu for Stuart Edmunds, Neil King’s course winner Princeton Royale and the Jonjo O’Neill trained pair of As You Like and Young Wolf, among the initial entries.

Following Friday’s meeting, the remaining 2020 fixtures are on October 28, November 17 and 30 and December 20.


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