Market Rasen Racecourse is getting in the festive mood for one its most popular jump racing occasions of the year, the Rand Farm Park Boxing Day At The Races meeting. Every year at Christmas time, over 9,000 people descend on the Lincolnshire track with friends and family for a traditional and value-for-money sporting day out, with accompanied under 18s being given free admission.
Boxing Day racing at Market Rasen is always a great chance for families and friends to continue the festive feeling, with many people in Lincolnshire enjoying a once-a-year chance to go to the races. There will be real reindeers on course, along with a sleigh.
There’s a packed programme of jump racing, including the annual Clugston Lincolnshire National. Like the ultimate Aintree race – the Randox Health Grand National - stamina is crucial for the Lincolnshire National, which is run over a distance of three and a half miles.
“Boxing Day horse racing at Market Rasen Racecourse is as much a part of Christmas as turkey, mulled wine and crackers. 26th December is always a very affordable festive day out for families over Christmas. Visitors who buy their tickets before Boxing Day get the best prices, so purchasing in advance is a great idea. I would also recommend people to set off in plenty of time to get to the racecourse on Boxing Day. The racecourse is clearly signed, with a number of routes in place and we urge all visitors to follow them and to get here early.”
The gates of the racecourse will be open from 10.05am when the fun begins for a first race time of 12.05pm. The finale is at 3.25pm.
Adult tickets are from £10.80 in advance (£12 on the day) for the Lawn Enclosure. Tattersalls advance admission is £18 (£20 on the day) and County is £24.30 (£27 on the day).
The racing highlight of Boxing Day racing is invariably the Clugston Lincolnshire National. At three and three-quarter miles, the contest is the longest race in the racecourse’s calendar and there was a thrilling finish last year and a Lincolnshire winner. As many as five horses had a chance at the last fence before Gonalston Cloud, from the Nick Kent stables in Brigg and ridden by Adam Wedge, pulled out a bit more to take the prize ahead of Amiral Collonges, with the former Scottish Grand National winner Godsmejudge in third. Just eight lengths covered the first seven horses home.
The Lincolnshire horse went on to record encouraging performances in the North Yorkshire Grand National and Edinburgh National at Catterick and Musselburgh Racecourses respectively.
Every year the Clugston Lincolnshire National produces a headline. In 2015 James Banks booted West Of The Edge to victory to complete a double on the day for him and trainer Dai Williams who had made the long journey from west Wales. In 2014, Adam Pogson had driven the Caroline Bailey-trained Carli King to victory.
What should visitors know before they set out and as they arrive?
What to wear: Dress for the weather. Warm is usually best! People move around the racecourse quite a bit, so comfortable shoes are advisable.
How much does it cost?: Tickets are available at www.marketrasenraces.co.uk from £10.80 in advance. Accompanied under 18s get in free on the day. Remember, 18 to 24 year olds can now get half-price admission – young adults should register at RacePass18to24.co.uk to receive a free RacePass membership card.
Parking: General parking – with the exception of the picnic car park - is free.
Food and drink: Visitors are welcome to bring their own picnic into the car parks or into the Lawn Enclosure. Please note food and drink is not permitted in the County and Tattersalls Enclosures. Bars, restaurants and food outlets are available across all enclosures with a variety of options to suit all tastes.
The race programme: The official programme is invaluable. The silks worn by the jockeys are displayed in colour. The programme shows the recent record of each horse running, the weight the horse will carry in the race, and the name of the jockey and trainer.
Betting: People put their money on with the bookmakers or with the Tote. They ‘take a price’ with a bookmaker at the time when they put your money on, whereas with the Tote the bet goes into a pool, with the winnings decided after the race.
Choosing a horse to back: Visitors can watch the horses in both the pre-parade ring, where the horses are saddled, and the parade ring itself. They can read the form – or just choose their favourite jockey or a horse whose name they like or whose rider is wearing their favourite colour. After all, it’s just a bit of fun.
The races: Now watch the races from the grandstands and cheer the winners as they come back into the winners’ enclosure. The highlight of the racing during the afternoon is the Clugston Lincolnshire National.
Timings: The first race is scheduled for 12.05pm; the finale is at 3.25pm. Gates open at 10.05am and the best advice is to reach the racecourse in good time. The latest news is available at www.marketrasenraces.co.uk or on Twitter @MarketRasenRace.