by Stable Lad
THE recent news that both Hereford and Folkestone will close their doors for the final time at the end of 2012 will not come as any great surprise to regular racegoers and punters, for it does appear that, over the years, outside of the mainline meetings, attendances have been generally going down.
The track at Hereford is in the west of England, and would have its own regular patrons, but, being right in the centre of an area where farming would be the be all and end all, its attraction for the big city racing public would be on the lower half of the scale.
The reason for selling just has to be for major economic reasons.
The Folkestone closure is a little bit different, for although its economic state is probably in the lower divisions, it seems that the prime reason for its close down is the fact that there are plans afoot to build about 800 houses on the acquired site sometime in the near future, for, as this course is situated near the seaside, and is very adjacent to the entrance to the busy Cross-Channel tunnel between Great Britain and France, the investors in this racecourse take-over are obviously looking forward to a busy future in the general area.
You know, since the early 60s many prominent racecourses in Britain have fallen foul of progressive housing development, among them Stockton, Great Leighs, Manchester, Birmingham, Lewes, and in the London area, Hurst Park and Alexandra Palace, which was generally known locally as Ally Pally, and was indeed one of the first tracks that had evening race meetings.
Interestingly, and also since the 60s we’ve have had track closures in our own bailiwick in the Republic, namely, Baldoyle and Phoenix Park in Dublin, Mullingar in the midlands, and the Greenpark, which was on the fringes of Limerick City.
All good tracks, but, nevertheless, as they say, if the price is right, anything will go!
Limerick has been luckiest, for, in recent years, a fine all-round racecourse has been opened in Crecora, which is near Patrickswell and still within easy reach of Limerick City.
The racing here has been of a high standard, and it attracts racing patrons from all over the entire country.
This weekend, weather conditions, and the cutting up of fields permitting we will attempt to seek our fortune at Goodwood on Saturday where the Nassau Stakes is the centrepiece.
In this small but classy field I will take Izzi Top to continue on the winning track, and withstand the strong challenge from the Ballydoyle team, with the main danger likely to be coming from Timepiece.
The Performance Stakes should go to Lyric Street, with Late Telegraph right in the mix, while in the Maiden, Hoarding could just about make it, closely followed by Improvisation.
The Nursery should be a great contest, and may be won, at a decent price by New Pearl with Lucky Beggar close behind.
Have a brilliant weekend, the TV viewing should be very entertaining!
The Fab Four:
Goodwood: 2:40 Lyric Street, 3:15 Izzi Top, 4:30 Hoarding, 5:05 New Pearl.