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Inside Track

Wed, Aug 24, 2016

The August Bank Holiday weekend offers a pair of well-established popular fixtures at Newcastle Racecourse. Racing on Friday Evening (August 26) is swiftly followed on Monday August 29 by the Vertem Blaydon Races Family Fun Day.

The months have passed quickly since our return to racing in May with the fixture on August 26 signalling the conclusion of our summer evening racing programme. However, the erection of 44 floodlights by Musco Sports Lighting means Twilight racing can now take place throughout the autumn and winter months.

Whilst the use of the floodlights is not yet required, a successful floodlit trial evening has already taken place with a number of horses galloping on the Tapeta. Racegoers will have the opportunity to sample racing under floodlights at Gosforth Park for the very first time on Friday September 23.

The £26,000 @Vertemam Blaydon Race Nursery Handicap over the straight mile is the feature contest of our August Bank Holiday Monday fixture, but the afternoon itself also offers a wide variety of entertainment for all of the family. Characters Bumblebee (from Transformers) and Elsa (from Frozen) will be present alongside a funfair, bouncy castles, face painters, pony rides, cheerleaders and much more. Advance Adult Grandstand tickets can be purchased online for £14; with Children under 18 admitted free of charge (when accompanied by an adult).

A key driver behind the decision to switch Flat racing from Turf to Tapeta was the desire to seek additional fixtures for Newcastle Racecourse. Therefore, both Arena Racing Company and the executive of Newcastle Racecourse were thrilled to be allocated a total of 62 fixtures for Newcastle next year when the Fixture List was published by the British Horseracing Authority earlier this month.

During 2017, there will be a total of 51 Flat fixtures (on Tapeta), and 11 National Hunt fixtures (on Turf) at Newcastle. This combined total of 62 fixtures is 13 more than in 2016 (49), when racing on the Flat course wasn’t possible until May because of the £12m redevelopment program.

In addition to regular highlights such as the Northumberland Plate Festival, Ladies Day, St Patrick’s Day, the Eider Chase and the Fighting Fifth Hurdle, racing will take place at Newcastle for the first time on Good Friday (April 14).

On Good Friday, we will be hosting a valuable card worth £250,000, with a feature race of at least £80,000. This fixture will compliment a high quality afternoon of racing at two of our sister racecourses, Bath and Lingfield Park, where total prize money for the fourth All-Weather Championship Finals Day will be £1,000,000.

Furthermore, with racing also scheduled to return to Newcastle on Grand National Day in 2017 (April 8) after a brief, but necessary switch to Sedgefield in 2016; 2017 promises to be a year to savour at Newcastle Racecourse.

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James Armstrong