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Sep 16, 2014

Behind the Scenes Tour a Success for Newton Abbot Racecourse

Racegoers were treated to a behind the scenes tour of Newton Abbot Racecourse as part of the racecourse’s ongoing commitment to breaking down the barriers to introduce more people to the world of horseracing.

The tour offered an insight into the sport not normally seen by racegoers. After a welcome talk from Managing Director, Patrick Masterson, attendees were given a unique opportunity to enter the weighing room where Clerk of the Scales, Georgina Robarts, explained about the role of weights in horseracing, including the different weight specifications for jockeys.

The group also enjoyed an up-close look at the traditional birch fences and the one-fit padded hurdles, which have been continued for the 2014 season. Two of Newton Abbot’s long-standing groundstaff explained how the fences are made, how they look to improve jockey safety and how they prepare the fences ready for the new season.
Before the end of the tour, the racegoers were treated to a talk from one of the racecourse’s well-known bookmakers, who talked through each of the day’s races and the favourites to win.

Patrick Masterson explained the choice to host another Beginners Day tour again this season: “At Newton Abbot, we understand that many people may feel a little apprehensive about spending a day at the races for the first time.

“We want to help those looking to learn more about the world of horseracing to be able to enjoy a day at Newton Abbot and so introduced our Beginners Day as a way of bridging the gap between newcomers to the sport and regulars. This year’s Beginners Day was a huge success and we hope to continue days like this at Newton Abbot. It’s a wonderful way to introduce people to the sport.”

One racegoer on the tour, Mary Hardy, explained her favourite part of the tour: “I loved the tour and it was all very good from start to finish. The introduction by the racecourse’s Managing Director was hugely informative. My favourite part of the tour was going onto the track. I was quite amazed by how large the jumps and hurdles were. The groundstaff were very friendly and knowledgeable and were happy to answer any questions we had with good humour. Overall, it was a wonderful afternoon.”

Speaking of what she had learnt on the tour, racegoer Hilary Gibson mentioned: “It was really interesting to learn about the weights and how handicaps work during races. To hold one of the saddles was great as well. It was astounding how heavy the saddles actually are. We’re very much looking forward to our next visit at the end of September.”

The racecourse are preparing for the last three fixtures of the season. The next fixture will be on Friday 19th September, with racing starting at 2:15pm and gates opening at 12:15pm. Tickets can be bought online until 5pm on Thursday 18th September and will also be available to buy at the gate on arrival. Children aged 16 and under and students with a valid student photographic ID or NUS card can enjoy free entry.

For more information and to buy tickets, visit