THERE is to be more Sunday horse racing across Britain from next year. The move comes as Chester prepares for its annual Sunday family fun day fixture this weekend.
Sunday racing has been successful at The Roodee since it was introduced in the mid 1990s. Now there will be much more in the rest of the country as British racing sets about its most radical over-haul in years.
The details of the 2004 fixture list were due to be announced this week. There will be more Saturday evening and Sunday fixtures, fewer meetings on most Bank Holidays and a 320- day stretch with just one day's break. The long period - with just Good Friday off - is from the start of February until a week before Christmas.
Added to that is the introduction of 'regional racing' at some courses - lower grade races aimed at ensuring that as many horses as possible get their chance on a racecourse.
The National Trainers Federation supports the move, as does the Racehorse Owners Association, though the latter is still pressing for greater prize money in regional racing.
The British Horseracing Board argues that an additional reason for regional racing is to provide betting shops with British races at times - for example late in the morning - when bookmakers are devising other products for punters to gamble on.
But jockeys' representatives have expressed some concerns about the increase in their workloads.
Admission for this Sunday's racing at Chester is £22 to the County Stand Concourse, £15 to Tattersalls and Paddock, £7 for the Dee Stand and £5 for the Open Course. First race is scheduled for 2.20pm. As well as via www.chester-races. co.uk, badges can be bought on the racecourse's credit card hotline, 01244 304610, which is open between 9am and 4.45pm Mondays to Fridays. E-mail inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is a fixture at Bangor-on-Dee Racecourse this afternoon, beginning at 2.15. Admission to the Course En-closure is £6, while the Paddock Enclosure is £12. Accompanied children enter free. More information from www.BangorOnDeeRaces.co.uk or by contacting the racecourse on 01978 780323.