Fontwell boss delighted as October festival grows stronger

Tracy Skinner was pleased with the success of the second year of the October festival  Picture by Louise Adams
Tracy Skinner was pleased with the success of the second year of the October festival Picture by Louise Adams

We’re all recovering from a hectic couple of days when we welcomed more than 6,000 people to the racecourse for the second running of our October festival, writes Fontwell Park general manager Tracy Skinner.

Although numbers were a little down on a year ago, when the weather was much warmer, all in all we were delighted with the success of the two days.

We had excellent feedback from people throughout the different enclosures.

It was a shame the rain came along later in Friday’s programme but the track held up well, and we were much luckier with the weather for Saturday.

There was some competitive racing, although the going change on Friday resulted in quite a few non-runners.

It is a big challenge staging back-to-back meetings but we all muck in. And we had a big helping hand from the groundstaff at Brighton racecourse, where our clerk of the course Ed Arkell also works.

We attracted some high-quality horses and are grateful to a number of leading trainers for supporting the festival. And it’s always good to see top jockeys like AP McCoy here.

The live music proved popular and a charity lunch before racing on Friday raised £5,000 for Parkinsons UK, when Phil Bell, who organised it, had been hoping would raise £1,000.

We have a little breather now before our next meeting, the Henning Wine Merchants’ Day on Wednesday, October 24.

Then we have Hunt Ball race day on Friday, November 9, when the horse after which it’s named will be paraded.

Our next big weekend meeting is Southern National Day on Sunday, November 18, when we’ll have all the usual free family entertainment on offer.

And dare I mention Boxing Day yet? We’ve already had a lot of interest from people who came last year and plan to return. Our private boxes have sold out – but do ring us or look at the website to see what else is available.

In the Observer this Thursday: Adam Waterworth brings down the curtain on a memorable Goodwood season in his final 2012 Diary from the Downs.