Weather hits eagerly awaited opening of racecourses

General View - RACE 1 - 2:20 Newton Abbot - 1 October 2018 - St Austell Brewery MaresÕ NovicesÕ Hurd

Newton Abbot Racecourse becomes the focus of attention in the summer months. - Credit: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK

Like many sports, horse racing is grabbling with the dilemma of what this third stage of the loosening of lockdown restrictions actually means.

It also has any reopening of facilities clouded by the ongoing uncertainty of the developing situation with the Indian variant and what that might lead to.

All courses will be able to open in some capacity, but management teams are in continued discussions with the relevant authorities.

Pat Masterson, chief executive of Newton Abbot Racecourse, has the challenge of both the period between now and Monday, June 21, when he can open the course but also after June 21 when as things stand, he can open his corporate hospitality. It is a continuous moving feast.

For the public eagerly anticipating the opening of racecourses, the weather forecast has been a dreadful downer.

So much rain is forecast that many meetings will inevitably be cancelled, others will have reduced fields because of the predicted heavy going and the intense rainfall may take the shine off attending and reduce crowds significantly.

With Taunton, Exeter and Wincanton being very much traditional winter season racecourses, it is Newton Abbot that becomes the focus of attention in the summer months.

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This town centre course, very close to the main rail line, is very accessible to Devon racegoers and summer tourists alike.

There are meetings throughout the summer with the big fixture which normally plays to packed crowds on Sunday, August 21.

Here's hoping this well-deserving course can see some benefits form the lockdown loosening.