23rd December 2013

Preparing for Boxing Day at Market Rasen

I am Jane Hedley and I am Clerk of the Course at Market Rasen. We are one of the four Jockey Club racecourses in action on Boxing Day. You probably know Kempton Park race, but Wincanton, Huntingdon (Editor's note, Huntingdon has since abandoned due to flooding) and we will be in action as well.

People often ask me when preparations for the Boxing Day meeting at Market Rasen start. Well like our sister courses who also race that day, it is something that we have in the back of our minds all year.

From a turf management point of view, we have to think about where we want the running rail to be and how we are going to move them throughout the year to have optimum ground on Boxing Day. The final preparations will take place once our fixture in early December is over.

We will be using our innermost winter line of the course which means we can provide fresh ground to race on all the way round. The course is looking really good for the day itself and the weather has been kind so far.

As I write this on Monday 23rd, the Going is Good to Soft and Soft in places on the Chase course. Although if we get the 10mls of rain that we are predicted for today, it will be Soft by tomorrow.

I will walk the course on Christmas Eve and if the weather is looking kind and not likely to be changeable, I will then drive to my parents in Scotland to spend Christmas night with them. I drive back on Christmas Day afternoon to the course, ready for the early start on Thursday. Obviously if the weather is looking changeable, my plans have to change too!

I was pleased with the entries for Boxing Day.  While it might not be our strongest day racing-wise, we always get a good enthusiastic jumping crowd and the team here at the course really get into the spirit of it.

Happy Christmas and if you are racing on Boxing Day, I hope you have a great day!