Upbeat atmosphere at course

THERE’S a real feel-good factor around the racecourse at Great Yarmouth at the moment.

Horse racing on a national level is attracting a lot of attention due to the ever-increasing popularity of the big meetings like Royal Ascot, writes Glenn Tubby (pictured).

And the heightened interest in the royal family this year is also adding to the excitement around the sport, with the Queen’s own horse winning at York recently and coming close in the Epsom Derby.

That excitement is definitely being felt on the ground and people coming through the gates at Yarmouth are creating a fantastic atmosphere.

At the last meeting, local trainer Christine Dunnett won the norfolktouristattractions.co.uk Handicap with Riley’s Crane, at a starting price of 100/1.

This made for some very happy punters around the racecourse and it was Christine’s first win of the 2011 flat racing season. She also took third place in the same race with Captainrisk.

The next race meeting is on Thursday, June 30. The weather has been kind, with plenty of dry weather for spectators to enjoy a day out and some rain when the gates have been closed to help ease the going.

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The response has been extremely positive in the run-up to Ladies’ Night on July 12.

Although there’s no denying the course has felt the impact of the recession, there are definite signs of improvement and they have exceeded the racecourse record for hospitality bookings, with more than 660 covers already booked in.

There are no private facilities now left available and only a limited number of places in the restaurant which are selling fast. Advance bookings for general admission tickets are also well up, currently 60 per cent ahead compared to the same time last year. The course is looking forward to welcoming a crowd of up to 5,000 people and it’s set to be a really great night.

Off the track, a new book about the history of the racecourse has been published and will go on sale next week.

Written by local historian David Tubby, the book covers the earliest records of racing in Great Yarmouth from 1715 up to today. Racing enthusiasts can pick up a copy from the racecourse priced at �7.99.

Elsewhere, it’s a Derby Double weekend, with the ‘Pitmen’s Derby’ at Newcastle tomorrow and the Irish Derby at Curragh on Sunday. The Queen’s Carlton House is set to run in the latter, keeping the spotlight well and truly honed in on the sport of kings.

For information about racing at Yarmouth and to book tickets visit www.greatyarmouth-racecourse.co.uk