A bumper crowd is expected at Warwick on New Year’s Eve when a competitive seven-race card and family entertainment combine for this traditional holiday fixture, writes David Hucker.
For adults, there will be a free Pimm’s for the first 500 people through the gates as well as a free-to-enter Jackpot Punters’ Contest with a chance to win a night’s stay at a hotel including dinner and a bottle of wine.
Children can have a go at being a jockey on a space hopper race and a mechanical horse Equicizer and there will be sparklers for all racegoers for an end-of-day celebration.
The Follow Us On Twitter @WarwickRaces Novices’ Handicap Hurdle kicks-off the card at 12.40pm and the appropriately named See You In 2016 Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race brings proceedings to an end at 3.40pm.
There is another heat for the Challenger Series of jumps races in the second, the Happy New Year Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle over three-and-a-quarter miles.
The series, a joint initiative of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) and Jockey Club Racecourses, involves 80 races in all, spread across five categories, culminating in a finals day at Haydock Park on Easter Saturday worth around £265,000 and broadcast live on Channel 4.
To qualify for a final, a horse need only finish in the first eight in any qualifying heat. A £50,000 bonus fund will be shared between any horses that add a final victory to an earlier qualifier success in the same distance category.
There are three chases on the card with both the TurfTV Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase and racinguk.com/anywhere Handicap Chase being run over two-and-a-half miles.
The racinguk.com Handicap Chase, due off at 2.10pm, is the longest at three miles and should provide the crowd with a spectacle, particularly as the horses fly the five fences down the back straight.
Gates open two hours before and there is live music from acoustic band Wildwood, who will be playing a mix of pop covers during the afternoon.
“The fixture is a fantastic opportunity to sample racing and start the New Year celebrations early,” said manager Andre Klein.
“The busy racecard and entertainment we’ve lined up off the track should make for a great atmosphere and we look forward to welcoming the local community.
“Advance tickets sales have been going extremely well in the run-up to the fixture, so it’s set to be a bumper crowd and we’re encouraging people to buy tickets online where possible.”
Advance adult tickets start from £18 per person with free admission for accompanied children under the age of 18. Single tickets bought on the day will be £20 or £15 for senior concessions.
Punters’ package tickets, which includes admission, a locally sourced pie, a drink, a racecard and £2 tote bet, are available for £27 in advance.
For more information, go to www.warwickracecourse.co.uk