Tour of Britain can boost Fakenham racecourse, says boss

Easter Monday race meeting at Fakenham Racecourse - the field in the 'Fakenham Ladies Raceday Novices' Handicap Hurdle Race' pass the Prince of Wales Stand. Eventual winner 'Riddlestown' in white with black triple diamond. ENGANL00220130204105712

Easter Monday race meeting at Fakenham Racecourse - the field in the 'Fakenham Ladies Raceday Novices' Handicap Hurdle Race' pass the Prince of Wales Stand. Eventual winner 'Riddlestown' in white with black triple diamond. ENGANL00220130204105712

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Fakenham Racecourse officials are hoping that the arrival of the Tour of Britain this autumn can help to bring a whole new audience to the venue.

The penultimate stage of the event, on Saturday, September 12, will be staged just over a month before the venue’s 2015-16 racing season begins.

And chief executive David Hunter said: “I’d like to think we’ll be able to encourage people who haven’t been to us before, for whatever reason, to come back for racing.

The race will also be staged during a £300,000 building programme at the course, which is due to start on June 1, the day after its popular Ladies Day fixture.

The project includes a new jockeys’ weighing room, where spectators will be able to see riders weigh in before and after races through a plate glass window.

An upgraded medical room and changing rooms for jockeys are also planned, along with expanded facilities for owners and trainers, which Mr Hunter said will be around four times the size of the current area.

He said: “We’re bringing things up to where they should be.”

It is hoped the work will be completed in time for the track’s first race meeting of the new season on October 16.

Mr Hunter admitted it was a “tight” schedule, but said temporary facilities for owners and trainers could be set up if the new area was not completed in time.

He added it was “critical” that the upgraded facilities for the jockeys are completed on time.

Course bosses have been pleased with their season so far, in which more race meetings have been held there than ever before.

Mr Hunter added that, while it had been wet, no meetings had been lost to the weather.

There are three meetings of the track’s current racing season left, with the first of those scheduled to take place on Easter Monday, April 6.

A further fixture is scheduled to take place on May 6, ahead of the Ladies Day meeting at the end of May.

And a point to point meeting will also be held at the track on Sunday, April 19.