Royal seal of approval for New To Racing Day
The Queen was once again in attendance on her Birthday weekend for the return to Flat racing at Newbury Racecourse on 19 – 20 April. The Dubai Duty Free Weekend included New To Racing Day where the focus was on novice and first time racegoers, showcasing the Sport of Kings as a great family day out.
The racecourse launched its new initiative, the Inside Track Hub which will be available at all major race days for visitors to learn through interactive demonstrations and video master classes their way around the racecourse, how to spot a winner and how to place a bet.
There was a wealth of activities for children in the Kids Zone including Harry The Horse’s Treasure Hunt, a Best Dressed Jockey competition and the chance to meet ex-racehorse Knowhow on the Copper King Lawn.
In the Jockey Zone, people could attend a commentary master-class then try their hand at commentary karaoke, take part in a Q&A with Steve Drowne and Martin Dwyer and pick up some tips on how to ride a race against a jockey on a pair of mechanical horses.
Celebrity stylist Kalee Hewlett gave racegoers fashions tips for the spring / summer season, with pastel and citrus colours as well as monochrome all looking to be popular choices.
On the track, it was a Classic Trial double for the local team of Richard Hannon and Richard Hughes as Maureen took the Group 3 Dubai Duty Free Stakes in style and stablemate Olympic Glory landed the Aon Greenham Stakes, despite strong challenges from Sir Patrick Moore and Moohaajim, and now heads to the French 2000 Guineas.
In other action, Hayley Turner rode a winner for The Queen on Sign Manual in The Dreweatts 1759 Handicap Stakes on Friday. On Saturday, there was great delight for Andover based trainer Ralph Beckett who took the Spring Cup with Haaf a Sixpence in his first completed start on the turf after a dramatic fall at Salisbury left him off the track for most of last year. Mark Johnston made a successful raid from his Yorkshire base to take the John Porter Stakes with Universal ridden by Silvestre De Sousa.
Stephen Higgins, Managing Director for Racing and Events at Newbury Racecourse commented:
“It was a fantastic weekend for racing with the sun shining for what felt like the first time this year! We are proud to be at the forefront of racecourses really catering for new and novice racegoers, with the Inside Track Hub proving to be extremely popular. Against a backdrop of criticism for racecourses as a whole ‘dumb-ing down’ racing, we are putting the sport back in the focus, making it accessible for all who attend.”