BOSSES at Fontwell Park believe they are well on the way to establishing their Boxing Day fixture as an important one for racing and for Sussex.
Track staff beat the festive downpours to get the meeting on and were rewarded by 5,500 punters pouring through the gates to see the action.
It rained again during the meeting and the weather meant the crowd was down on last year, but that didn’t stop the fixture attracting some good fields and being declared a big success.
After Fontwell’s Boxing Day card was frozen off in 2010, the first year they tried to stage it, the meeting has now been staged two years in a row, with more than 13,000 race-goers in total enjoying the action.
General manager Tracy Skinner said the aim had always been to establish the fixture as one that many in racing would look forward to and get involved in, as well as an event families would include on their Christmas calendars.
Even though this year was muddy and wet, the main thing was that it was on.
Plenty of people had pre-booked their tickets and had it been abandoned, although they’d have got full refunds, it might have put some off for future years.
Staff at Fontwell have now begun a month between meetings – but it’s the calm before the storm with a hectic schedule in the pipeline for 2013.
Officials have secured a bumper 24-strong programme of fixtures for the year ahead and it includes some new features.
Their year begins on Sunday, January 27, with one of their popular family race days, while love may be in the air when they stage a meeting on Valentine’s Day.
Their biggest race of the year, the National Spirit Hurdle, is the centrepiece of Fontwell’s second All About The Horse raceday on Sunday, February 24, when a range of initiatives will be held to enable visitors to find out more about the creatures that make the sport of kings what it is.
Pundits will preview the Cheltenham Festival when they gather at Fontwell on Wednesday, March 6.
Kids get another chance to enjoy the action with a meeting on Thursday, April 11, during the Easter holidays, and May features five cards – including evening racing with live music on May 3 and back-to-back midweek meetings on May 15 and 16, the latter of which includes the Hunter Chase contest previously held at Folkestone. More at www.fontwellpark.co.uk
See this website for tips, previews and reports from every Fontwell Park and Goodwood meeting in 2013. Follow sports editor @stevebone1 on Twitter for local racing updates.