Cheltenham Festival 2018
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Thriving Newton Abbot Shows Summer Jumping Has A Real Place In Racing Calendar

Two hours before the start of Newton Abbot's annual Family Fun Raceday and the racegoers, both young and old, are flocking into the picturesque Devon racecourse, and here at JumpsRacing.co.uk we decided to take a look at what a summer Jumps meeting has to offer, and we certainly couldn't have been more impressed!

What strikes you as soon as you step foot through the entrance, is the relaxed atmosphere the West Country venue has.  Now, we are all accustomed to the hustle and bustle of the big winter meetings up and down the country, where the focus is predominantly on the equine talent on the track.

However, Newton Abbot manage to bring an element of warmth to the racegoer's experience, and that was not just from the sunny spells overhead, but the ease in which hardened punters, and families alike are able to stroll care-free from the paddock to the course, and most importantly for the latter, the ice cream vans, which were doing a roaring trade on Sunday afternoon.

Clerk of the course, Jason Loosemore said: "We like to think we are a friendly, warm, welcoming course, and we have a good holiday crowd coming into the Torbay area."

Racing at Newton Abbot Racecourse

The huge crowds watch the action on the racecourse

A quality seven-race card was the main attraction on the track, with the Paul Nicholls-trained Bagad Bihoue landing the big novice chase prize in impressive fashion, and a fourth win on the bounce will see that Ditcheat inmate potentially have bigger pots lined up for the winter.

But, for those plethora of families enjoying a day out, it was the activities available for the children that would've made most appeal, and with a spacious play area allowing the kids to burn off some steam in the family enclosure, along with free face painting, and the Magical World of Ozzy D providing some magic for the young racegoers, highlighting there's more to a Newton Abbot raceday than the action itself.

Tim Mays from Bristol, who took time out of his family holiday in Sidmouth to head to Newton Abbot, said: "We've come to get the kids interesting in horse racing.  We saw in the local paper about the face painting and the magicians, which is all free of charge, so we decided to come from Sidmouth for a good family day out."

Family fun at Newton Abbot Racecourse

Luca & Lani showing off their painted faces in the family enclosure

A striking, memorable theme of Newton Abbot's attraction is its crowd, who appreciatively clap the horses on every circuit, and it's the fans that Newton Abbot are trying to firstly attract, and secondly lure back for another visit and Loosemore added: "We provide a little shop window for people, who haven't been racing before, as it's less intimidating than maybe going to one of the larger racecourses, and you feel a little bit more relaxed when you come here, as there is no real dress code."

Newton Abbot Racecourse

Young racegoers enjoying magician Ozzy D as the racing goes on

With summer jumping continuing to attract strong crowds, the racing is also delivering, with Newton Abbot averaging 7.89 runners in chase races, with a smidgen over 10 runners on average over the hurdles, and ten-times champion trainer Paul Nicholls, fresh from Alcala winning the Summer Plate at Market Rasen on Saturday, is one huge supporter of the track.  He said: "Newton Abbot put really good prize money on in the novice hurdles, and their chases.  It gives us more opportunities run some better horses in the summer."

Finish line Newton Abbot Racecourse

Bagad Bihoue eases to a fourth win in a row over fences

Not only do Newton Abbot focus on the paying racegoers, but they are keen to offer incentives to those people working tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure the horses turn up in A1 condition, and a venerable mention must go to Managing Director Patrick Masterson, who runs a smooth operation at the track, but most importantly offers something that very few courses do.

Masterson said: "We are able to give stable staff, who are very important to us, a two-course meal for free.", which was championed by multiple Grade One-winning jockey Sam Twiston-Davies, who was quick to heap praise on Newton Abbot for what they deliver for those working behind the scenes.

So, here at Jumpsracing.co.uk we'd like to thank Newton Abbot for their terrific hospitality and great access around the course, and can't speak highly enough of a venue that is most definitely worth a visit, and we will certainly be looking forward to heading back their soon.

*Next Newton Abbot Raceday Is Monday 31st July

Author - Steve Chambers (@SteveChambers86)

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