Visitors on Boxing Day are set to see a new-look venue during one of the most popular sporting events and family days out in Lincolnshire.
The wraps will come off the £800,000 development funded by The Jockey Club, the parent group of the racecourse.
The extension of the Tattersalls Enclosure is the biggest change at the track in 11 years, with the investment offering the racecourse greater capacity in our most popular enclosure.
The work began in July with the demolition of the old and declining grandstand in the Family Enclosure. Since then the Tote Exacta bar has been doubled in size and the capacity of the Tattersalls Enclosure increased.
The builders are just about to hand back the development site to us and then we will be all geared up for the 26th.
As well as a packed programme of jump racing, including the annual Clugston Lincolnshire National, there are other attractions too including fairground stalls with prizes, swing boats, a roundabout, Rudolf simulator, a penalty shoot-out and a bouncy castle.
On-the-day prices for adults start from as little as £10 – and there are discounts for advance purchase. Accompanied under 18s are admitted free of charge, making a day at the racecourse a value-for-money and affordable occasion for families. Adult tickets can be bought at www.marketrasenraces.co.uk or by telephone on 0844 579 3009.
The first race is scheduled for 12.25pm; the finale is at 3.20pm. Gates open at 10am and the best advice is to get to the racecourse early.
News updates are available at www.marketrasenraces.co.uk or on Twitter @MarketRasenRace.
Guide to coming racing
So, what should visitors know before they set out and as they arrive at the racecourse?
What to wear: Dress for the weather. Warm is best! The County Enclosure does require smarter dress – no ripped denim for example – but otherwise there are no restrictions. People move around the racecourse quite a bit, so comfortable shoes are advisable.
How much does it cost?: The great news is that all accompanied under 18s get into the racecourse free of charge. Discounted tickets for adults can still be bought … £22.50 (County Enclosure), £16.20 (Tattersalls) and £9 (Family). On-the-day prices are £25, £18 and £10 respectively. Adult tickets can be purchased at www.marketrasenraces.co.uk or by telephone on 0844 579 3009.
Parking: General parking – with the exception of the picnic car park - is free. Preferential parking areas are provided near the entrances for disabled visitors who are holders of the Blue Badge parking label.
Food and drink: Visitors are welcome to bring their own picnic into the car parks or into the Family Enclosure, but food and drink may not be brought into any other areas of the racecourse. There are numerous places to eat, including Mama J’s Express which will be open for takeaway pizzas, with plenty of choices available from mulled wine and soup through to curry.
The race programme: The official programme is invaluable. The silks worn by the jockeys are displayed in colour. The programme shows the recent record of each horse running, the weight the horse will carry in the race, and the name of the jockey and trainer.
Betting: People put their money on with the bookmakers who stand in front of the grandstands or with the Tote. They ‘take a price’ with a bookmaker at the time when they put your money on, whereas with the Tote the bet goes into a pool, with the winnings decided after the race.
Choosing a horse to back: Visitors can watch the horses in both the pre-parade ring, where the horses are saddled, and the parade ring itself. They can read the form – or just choose their favourite jockey or a horse whose name they like or whose rider is wearing their favourite colour.
After all, it’s just a bit of fun.
The races: Now watch the races from the grandstands and cheer the winners as they come back into the winners’ enclosure. The highlight of the racing during the afternoon is the Clugston Lincolnshire National, a steeplechase run over more than three and a half miles.
Clerk of the Course plays key role
A big team of racecourse staff, from caterers, ground staff through to the general office and management are involved in organising Boxing Day racing.
Clerk of the Course Jane Hedley is responsible for providing the very best possible racing conditions for the horses.
Her focus on Boxing Day started as soon as the racecourse’s last meeting ended on 4th December. The turf is repaired and running rails moved – and the long-term weather forecasts begin to the monitored.
Jane’s role becomes intense in the days leading up to Boxing Day.
Christmas Day is a day off, but she’ll still be monitoring conditions remotely from where she’s staying in the Scottish Borders and will arrive back in Lincolnshire at 9pm.
With luck there won’t be the challenges with frost and snow. The weather forecast for over Christmas is currently favourable.
Jane is in constant touch by telephone and text message with racehorse trainers intending to run horses because they want to know the exact ‘going’. She uses a special, hi-tech GoingStick to provide readings which create a ‘going map’ of the racecourse.
Jane will be at the racecourse from very early on the day of the races and satisfaction comes at the end of the meeting when all the racehorse owners and trainers are happy.