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The Pies
02 May 22 18:18
Date Joined: 01 Feb 04
| Topic/replies: 993 | Blogger: The Pies's blog
Would it be possible for any kind RP member post the article please.
Pause Switch to Standard View RP Article on falling attendances
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Report FatPunt May 2, 2022 6:25 PM BST
Ireland's jumps season ended with some big numbers.

Honeysuckle now boasts an unbeaten record of 16 consecutive victories having won one of the few Punchestown festival top-flight contests that eluded Willie Mullins. In total, Ireland's now 16-time champion trainer claimed nine of the meeting's 12 Grade 1 prizes for Closutton and finished the five days having amassed 14 successes.

Britain's 2021-22 jumps campaign concluded one Saturday earlier, with the Sandown jumps finale also producing a notable number. Worryingly, it was one that mirrored much of what had occurred over the preceding months.

Although an official attendance has not yet been posted on the Levy Board website that records all such data for British racecourses, the Jockey Club has confirmed a crowd figure of just north of 9,000. That means, with the exception of last year's behind-closed-doors running, the turnout for the 2022 bet365 Gold Cup was a record low, or certainly the smallest since 1989, the first year for which data is publicly available.

A total of 16,424 racegoers were present on that occasion, with numbers peaking in 2015 when Tony McCoy's farewell drew 18,621 admirers. Seven years on, only half as many people came to Sandown.

Sandown's jumps finale this year suffered a record-low attendance
Sandown's jumps finale this year suffered a record-low attendance
Edward Whitaker (
Should we be concerned? That all depends on whether the disappointing outcome reflects a singular blip or can be easily explained. On the latter front, one must point out those travelling to Esher by train had to complete the final part of their journey via a rail replacement bus service. That would have deterred some potential customers, but it surely cannot account for everything.

Was it a singular blip? The Levy Board statistics suggest it very much was not. For while the Cheltenham Festival continues to post seriously strong numbers, and other important winter fixtures performed impressively compared to pre-Covid years – particularly at Haydock – a disconcertingly large number of the season's standout days were less of a magnet to paying customers than was once the case.

That was never more obvious than at Kempton on Boxing Day. In mitigation, Omicron was on the rise, Covid passes were required and some racecourses staging high-profile meetings may not have chased crowds with their normal hunger due to staffing shortages. Final figures now also only include members who turn up, whereas in the past all members were deemed to have been at the races. On top of that, levels of disposable income have dropped as some entertainment charges have grown. Even so, the extent to which the King George day audience slumped still came as a nasty surprise.

The previous four runnings open to full crowds had been seen by an average of 19,432 spectators. In 1991 a modern peak of 29,204 fans flocked to Kempton for Desert Orchid's final race. The 2021 King George was witnessed by only 11,578, way less than for any other recorded year.

In 2016 and 2017 Wetherby's Charlie Hall Chase day had attendances in the region of 10,000. Last season it was 6,907. The Clarence House Chase clash between Shishkin and Energumene proved popular at the turnstiles, but Betfair Ascot Chase day's 10,205 was some way adrift of the previous four-year average (once again discounting the behind-closed-doors 2021 running) of 12,885.

Using the same metric, numbers dropped for Doncaster's Sky Bet Chase and Grimthorpe Chase cards by 26 per cent and 40 per cent. Sandown's Imperial Cup was 41 per cent down and those paying to enjoy Kempton's February jumps Saturday collapsed by 35 per cent.

As racecourses contemplate the recommendations made by the Quality Jump Racing Review Group, the figures represent food for thought.

Nobody can say with any certainty why the popularity of key jumps days suddenly dropped, but the uncomfortably large number of uncompetitive small-field Graded races can hardly have delivered an incentive to jumps fans. For many, it may simply have seemed more sensible and cost-effective to watch the action on television.

It is, however, perfectly possible that this is more than just a problem for jump racing. Indeed, some of the early indications in the current Flat season have been anything but positive.

Consider, for example, Lincoln day at Doncaster. In 2016 the crowd figure for the campaign's traditional curtain-raiser was 11,376. In 2019 that had dropped to 9,078. The public returned this March but to an underwhelming extent. The official tally was only 6,183.

Johan's Lincoln success was seen by only 6,183 spectators at Doncaster
Johan's Lincoln success was seen by only 6,183 spectators at Doncaster
Getty Images
Greenham day was, most unusually, staged on Easter Saturday. This proved no help in luring folk to see Newbury's two Classic trials. From 2015 to 2019 (the meeting was abandoned in 2016) there was an average crowd of 8,084. On this occasion that fell by 40 per cent to 4,820. That was still better than Newmarket's Craven meeting, whose enclosures were extremely quiet earlier the same week.

Since reverting to a three-day fixture in 2016, Newmarket's April opening had welcomed combined crowds from the Tuesday to Thursday of 14,590 (2016), 16,128 (2017), 15,152 (2018) and 16,562 (2019). This year the total over the three days was a desperately disappointing 8,672, a 44 per cent decrease on what had been the four-year average.

Saturday's Qipco 2,000 Guineas crowd of roughly 15,300 was also down on pre-Covid years, but with the help of glorious sunshine, and some excellent work from the Jockey Club and British Champion Series, those who came to the Rowley Mile were treated to a top-class day at the races. In addition to the enthralling sport, a host of activities made it an afternoon when all who travelled to Newmarket should have gone home happy and eager to come back.

Based on the evidence of some recent showpiece racedays, we must hope they tell their friends.
Report The Pies May 2, 2022 6:32 PM BST
Thank you very much FatPunt
Report impossible123 May 2, 2022 6:53 PM BST
Any mention of admission prices? If not, why not? I'd have thought admission prices will be the number one consideration for most esp non-horseracing fans, and the costs of sustenance and parking.
Report onlooker May 2, 2022 6:58 PM BST
'Saturday's Qipco 2,000 Guineas crowd of roughly 15,300 was also down on pre-Covid years, but with the help of glorious sunshine, and some excellent work from the Jockey Club and British Champion Series, those who came to the Rowley Mile were treated to a top-class day at the races. In addition to the enthralling sport, a host of activities made it an afternoon when all who travelled to Newmarket should have gone home happy and eager to come back.

Most of us on here are - All over racing - and many have been all their lives - BUT ...

I could not tell you off the top of my head - what races make-up the - "British Champion Series" ...

NOR - Could I care less.

So - How can they claim that the GENERAL PUBLIC were - "enthralled by the sport".

That last paragraph should ALL be in Quotation Marks - Because ...

It reads just like a corporate Press Release from The Jockey Club.  Cry
Report The Pies May 2, 2022 7:05 PM BST
Admission prices may be a factor but from my own experience Jockey Club courses are still only charging £15 for many of their meetings which hasn't changed for a few years. ARC are expensive for what they offer but again experience told me that before COVID this didn't seem to put punters off. Think it may be more that the older demographic of racing is still cautious or have got into the habit of punting from home.
Report tomo1984 May 2, 2022 7:30 PM BST
All we need is a 365 day Cheltenham Festival and all will be sorted.

Surprised the bright sparks have not figured it out yet.
Report Manoleeds May 2, 2022 7:38 PM BST
For me it's 7 or 8 races on a card -sure you can leave early unless the last one on the card interests you.Six is quite enough. More is less especially when a race that doesn't need to be divided, gets divided anyway. 
Food and drink prices have always been high -but what is  on offer isn't always attractive anyway -e.g a Pastie van or Fish and Chips for food and  fizzy beer to drink .
E/w terms are often worse than you can get off course (though I'm sure I heard an explanation on ITV racing that on course bookies were not permitted to offer the same).
Pointless gimicks like teh Shergar cup and the Sunday Series (or whatever it is called).
Saturdays have always been raucous but they seem to be getting worse.
Report tomo1984 May 2, 2022 7:41 PM BST
Fact is though, if you are a serious punter then why would you want to be at the track? 

Even as a horse racing lover, you are better served in the office at home with the big screen TVs and the laptops.
Report truehoncho May 2, 2022 7:54 PM BST
If you are a serious punter how can you bet a horse without looking at it first? Admission prices are just one cost of the day. I think the cheapest ticket for the 2000 Guineas was about £45, £65 if you didn't want to stand amongst all the piss heads. Food and drink inside the tracks is often very expensive. The big meetings rely on people going who don't normally go racing for big attendances. I think people are feeling the economic pinch. As has been already said, extending the festivals and creating Shergar Cups is extending supply beyond demand.
Report Dr Crippen May 2, 2022 8:04 PM BST
As long as they stage the meetings, what does it matter how many attend?
Report mitolo May 2, 2022 8:10 PM BST
dont mind paying if the services is good but paying over the odds and getting rubbish has halted my gallop. plastic glasses are an abomination and those who drink nasty lager or 'guinness' out of them are mugs. some of them are so fick they neglect to put their socks on.

its ok if you are in a box but i dont go racing for a 3 hour dindins. i like to get about the gaff.

if attendances diminish further i might return.
Report MJK May 2, 2022 8:15 PM BST
Do older punters feel safe at racetracks these days?
Report truehoncho May 2, 2022 8:17 PM BST
As long as they stage the meetings, what does it matter how many attend?  -- I think I agree with that DrC. I suppose for the key festivals the glamour of big crowds may attract people (rich people) into the sport. I definitely agree with mitolo, the piss heads get in the way.
Report longbridge May 2, 2022 8:22 PM BST
The article text lists more than one entirely reasonable reason for the numbers dropping

- members only being counted if they actually turn up rather than counting all members as attending
- COVID faff (both official and hesitancy in the Racing age group to travel/gather)
- rail replacement buses (I absolutely would not bother if I had to do that)

This year doesn't feel like a good time to compare with the past - check again when things are more like normal?
Report geordie1956 May 2, 2022 8:36 PM BST
the economic uncertainty will surely have an effect for this season & maybe a lot longer
the product is expensive for what you get ... certainly at the smaller courses like sedgefield (thats only my opinion)
i'm still prepared to pay higher prices to see the better quality horses at york etc but avoid saturdays
we all probably have specific reasons & concerns for non attendance
Report strontium May 2, 2022 9:23 PM BST
Speaking of RP articles, what's the story about the BHA wanting to cut 300 races?
Report windsor knot May 2, 2022 9:58 PM BST
come july and august some tracks will smash those figures and all might look rosy ....until you realise saturday racing on course is basically the new nightclub.
Report racing6699 May 3, 2022 8:49 AM BST
I think the main issues are: 1. Racings core fans are getting less. Advertising seems to focus around other sports and Casino, and even matched betting on Social Media. Effectively the fan base is getting smaller who bet and are interested in Racing. So less people as punters are brought into the Sport. So less fans to actually attend the races because they know the horse, trainers and like the day out. 2. Race meetings on Saturdays at literally full of drunk chavs in cheap suits getting pissed. However this segment are not fans, so if there are other things getting their attention for money and time, then they are likely to go there. This discourages normal fans to attend and also its liable to be up and down based on whether you can keep attracting these chavs. 3. The racecourses try to be everything for everyone, whilst almost suiting nobody. They mix old fashioned dress codes and wine bars, with then trying to attract loads of drunks yobs, ending up not really suiting anyone. Getting drinks and food are a challenge, and also standing all day is not  ideal. Il be honest that the Irish racecourses (no idea are their attendances up or down) seem to be far ahead of Uk ones in terms of atmosphere and experience to me.
Report impossible123 May 3, 2022 8:59 AM BST
Indeed. As an aging racing fan I'd weigh up the pros and cons before attending a meeting eg expense against entertainment - in that order - by car; taxi and public transport do not interest me. And, I'm not a snob either; comfort in my own surrounding, comfortability and "convenience" are key for me.

Alternatively, terrestrial tv or bookie video; if the former, mute dross. I can be selective which races I'll watch or have interests in.
Report jimnast May 3, 2022 9:24 AM BST
From what I have seen in recent years and I go racing a lot is that with the exception of Ludlow every other track is totally obsessed with how much alcohol they can sell worse still is they don’t care who they sell it to.
Report jimnast May 3, 2022 9:25 AM BST
Not been to fakenham for a long time I could imagine they could be similar to Ludlow.
Report SlippyBlue May 3, 2022 1:06 PM BST
I'm the same as you Jimnast in so far as I also go racing as often as I can and the booze thing really is pushing the boundaries as to what is really acceptable to your average race goer. For me now, I simply refuse to go to a decent Saturday meeting as there will be few, if any, comfortable areas to sit and enjoy the day unless you pay for hospitality which is on the whole vastly overpriced and of very poor quality. As for bank holiday meetings, well you can just forget those totally. An afternoon with a few thousand lager fiends, charlied up is not my idea of a good time and I love my racing as much as anyone but even I have to draw a line somewhere.
Report The Knight May 3, 2022 1:33 PM BST
slippyy...exactly the same view as me mate.

What so irritates me is that very few other public entertainment venues would not stand for the way the drunks behave at the racecourses. Football, cricket, cinema, theatre, anywhere else you can think of, would kick them out immediatley But not at the racecourses. It makes horse racing look cheap and desperate for money.
Report Rigsby May 3, 2022 1:35 PM BST
Re Fakenham, which is not far for me. The meetings are filled with relatively grass roots local people who seem to just want a family day out and don't seem bothered by the small fields they generally get (today is an exception). My issue is that the stand is too small for the numbers attending and the "second ring" has no stand and therefore cr*p viewing, although you can view the parade ring. If I go for some fresh air and excercise I sneak in via a path through the golf course and go in-field.
Report mitolo May 3, 2022 1:38 PM BST
why is it accepted that having a few sherbets is automatically followed by violence and disorder? i dont accept it and wonder why this country is resigned to it. what a stupid nasty philistine nation this is.

on a brighter note, good to see fakenhole has left the dark side and now we have the excellent neesom casting his expert eye over a load of stone boats
Report second again May 3, 2022 1:43 PM BST
I went to Ascot for the first time in years earlier this year,I was surprised that you were allowed to take drinks onto the stands.I would have given big odds on that ever being allowed years ago.
Report SlippyBlue May 3, 2022 1:52 PM BST
I lived in a village not far from Cambridge for many years and I was a regular visitor to Fakenham during that time. It's a splendid little track and I had many a very pleasant day out there. Highly recommend it for those who haven't been before.

Back on topic, if you took a few friends for a race meeting who had never been before and you went to The July Course on a Friday evening I would take short odds that they would never go again.
Report parispike May 3, 2022 1:54 PM BST
Slippy Blue has nailed it imo. I have a policy now of only going to Saturday meetings where I am a member (at least have the haven of the Annual Members facility) and even then some have been binned. I am not interested in attending any event where drunks and cokeheads are actively encouraged by courses solely interested in SHORT TERM profit and are quite prepared to tolerate bad behaviour in pursuit of it.

If racecourses want to be outdoor pubs then they have to police accordingly. Presently they don't.
Report The Knight May 3, 2022 2:52 PM BST
Bang on parispike.

So incensed by how racecourses pursue profits generated from drunken yobs, I wrote to a number of them about having 'alcohol-free' viewing areas for those who want to watch the racing and not be surrounded by plastic debris and people behaving like w*nkers. I also had a letter published in the RP a few weeks back suggesting the same thing.

Only two tracks replied, both of which I am an annual member at anyway. One was a half-hearted reply basically saying they have to do what the police tell them to but the other, from York, was really good.

At York this season, as it used to be, no drinks will be allowed outside in the County Stand and no drinks can be taken onto the Gimcrack Stand. So, fair play to York but the rest of the tracks clearly lacked the imagination to even think up a reply to my idea, let alone implement it!
Report sparrow May 3, 2022 3:20 PM BST
The last Saturday meeting I attended was at Aintree and not the National meeting. To find somewhere to rest I had to sit on the staircase inside the stand.
Report sparrow May 3, 2022 3:24 PM BST
*I had to sit on the staircase in between the floors inside the stand.
Report penzance May 3, 2022 3:25 PM BST
You could've perched anywhere,surely.
Report sparrow May 3, 2022 3:44 PM BST
penzance 03 May 22 15:25 
You could've perched anywhere,surely.

Where exactly.....On the floor?
Report elise May 3, 2022 4:01 PM BST
i think he meant a branch tbh
Report the dealer May 3, 2022 4:12 PM BST
Hamilton was very busy om Sunday, it was a family day, loads of things for the kids to do. The betting ring was busy.
Report sparrow May 3, 2022 4:22 PM BST
Oh I see elise, an attempt at humour by Penzance no less. Plain
Report elise May 3, 2022 4:35 PM BST
i thought so, surprised you didn't twig
Report ItsMeSwaddle May 3, 2022 4:43 PM BST

May 2, 2022 -- 8:15PM, MJK wrote:

Do older punters feel safe at racetracks these days?

Im younger so maybe not best to answer but I think people are going a bit far saying race courses are dangerous Laugh

Yes they are full of abso pillocks on a weekend but at best they fight each other, think you'll be safe.

Report ItsMeSwaddle May 3, 2022 4:46 PM BST
Also I am constantly told I am wrong (why would I lie)

Go racing in the North or did before I also threw the towel in going to course....

THERING PRICES ARE SHOCKING, all betting to huge %.

AKA no need to be at the course unless you like a look at them.

The ring is completely dead (ok big festivals)

People are voting with their feet.
Report Manoleeds May 3, 2022 4:46 PM BST
Wetherby in the Paddock Enclosure the only seats are in the very back row of the stand -hard plastic and not many of them . Maybe it's to encourage people to go to the Club enclosure.
Report ItsMeSwaddle May 3, 2022 4:48 PM BST
Weth one of my favourites but yeah that is a point
Report ImSoLuckyLucky! May 3, 2022 5:12 PM BST
Cheltenham Festival Price
CChase day now
£52 tatts
God knows what it will be in 6 months time
Good value
Report ItsMeSwaddle May 3, 2022 5:14 PM BST
I dont find 52 ridic

Its much better value than 20-30 for nothing below c3?
Report MJK May 3, 2022 5:38 PM BST
I'm not exactly 'older' so the question was for those who were. I know someone who was a regular racegoers, I  his late 60s, who won't go now as he says it's not worth the hassle.
Report sparrow May 3, 2022 6:28 PM BST
Most older people much prefer to go midweek irrespective of the class of racing.
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