Summer season is back - and so are the supporters

Jockey, Bryony Frost with Black Corton during the Paul Nicholls Stables Day before the Cheltenham Fe

Bryony Frost with Black Corton - Credit: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK

After the fanfare of Cheltenham, Aintree and Punchestown, it is now the more informal summer jumps circuit that envelopes the West Country racing world.

Newton Abbot is first among those circuits that has all its meetings during the summer season and fixtures are virtually every week over the next three months.

The good news for racecourse executives and fans of the sport is that the Government this week confirmed that spectators could start attending live events at levels of up to 50 per cent of stadium capacity from May 19.

This means that Newton Abbot’s fixture on Wednesday, May 26, will be able to welcome its regular supporters.

The conditions and restrictions are yet to be fully defined but the gates will be open.

This will mean a frantic time for chief executive Pat Masterson and his team. They have two weeks from yesterday’s meeting to getting the course fully prepared and Covid compliant by May 26.

There is no guidance yet on the level of corporate hospitality that will be permitted on the course’s boxes and restaurants during the remainder of the season. 

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The summer season isn’t all about fun and as every year goes by there is an improvement to the courses, facilities and more and more quality horses are entering races at the track.

The Group One winner, Black Corton, who launched Bryony Frost’s career, was successful at the track as a novice in 2017.

Belfast Banter, who was victorious at both the Cheltenham and Aintree Festivals, was successful there in 2019.

Already this season there have been some promising novices running at the course, especially Southfield Harvest who won for champion trainer Paul Nicholls at last week’s fixture.

Here’s hoping the worst is over and Newton Abbot can entertain its joyous mixture of locals and visitors during the summer months ahead.

CHRIS COWARD