Record crowds at Newmarket's July meet

RECORD crowds flocked to the new improved Newmarket Racecourse for last week's July meeting, thrilling bosses after a disappointing season the year before.

RECORD crowds flocked to the new improved Newmarket Racecourse for last week's July meeting, thrilling bosses after a disappointing season the year before.

And the three-day event took on an international flavour, with Australian favourite and Golden Jubilee Stakes winner Choisir pulling in punters from both home and abroad last Thursday.

During Tuesday and Wednesday alone, which included the much-coveted Ladies Day, turnout increased by nearly 12% on last year's figures – and was attributed to the glorious summer weather and high-quality line-ups.

The statistics are a massive reversal of fortune for the racecourse, on which punters turned their backs following difficulties with the three-year-old Millennium Grandstand, built at a cost of £20million.


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Thousands stayed away from the Suffolk course after the stand failed to reach the expectations and needs of racegoers, and earlier this year, officials were forced to spend a further £3.5million on modifications.

Escalators were installed to ease congestion in the main betting halls, while new areas, for owners and trainers, were constructed.

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And although the improvements took place in the stand on the Rowley Mile, it is thought the new wave of confidence in Newmarket, prompted by the revamp, may have encouraged more to the July Course last week.

"It was superb," said Lisa Hancock, managing director of Newmarket Racecourse. "We achieved a record attendance for a three-day July meeting.

"We were almost 1,000 up on Ladies Day, and achieved the same results on Wednesday. The overall increase for these two days was a pleasing 11.7% overall.

"I think these numbers were because the weather was fantastic and the racing was particularly impressive. The three days formed probably the most competitive meeting we have had, and Choisir, who raced on Thursday, drew in big crowds.

"We are chuffed to bits with the turnout, as it is a great start to the summer season.

"But the spring season on the Rowley Mile also went well, and the improvements to the Millennium Grandstand really helped the general flow of people through the racecourse."

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