Uttoxeter Racecourse is ready to open up its gates to the influx of racing fans on Saturday 17th March with the 49th inauguration of the Betfred Midlands Grand National.
Record St Patrick’s Day crowds expected at the Staffordshire track after this week’s Cheltenham Festival starting Tuesday.
Uttoxeter Racecourse executive director David MacDonald explained how the date this year’s Midlands National has fallen on will bring in an abundance of Irish racegoers.
He said: “We are expecting our busiest crowd probably that I can remember in the last 10 years.
“It certainly helps that the day falls on St Patrick’s Day and follows on from Cheltenham, so we are expecting a lot of Irish voices to be round the racecourse on Saturday celebrating.
“We have already sold over 11,000 tickets at the moment, we only have a few hundred tickets in the grandstand and paddock left.
“It is going to be a bumper day for the racecourse and the town of Uttoxeter itself.”
Two weeks ago saw 65 horses entered for the 2018 spectacle with this open handicap listed race once again managing to entice the major chasers from across Great Britain and Ireland to do battle for the purse of just over £125,000.
The race will be run over four mile and two furlongs which make this prestigious race just 66 yards shorter than the Aintree Grand National, making it the second longest steeplechase race in the country.
Last year’s reigning champion Chase The Spud has the chance to defend his title, with last year’s runner up Mysteree looking to turn the tables with his entry to the race.
The two highest rated horses entered are American, trained by Harry Fry, and the Venetia Williams trained Yala Enki, who in his last outing saw off Grand National favourite Blaklion at Haydock Park.
MacDonald said:” We are hoping to have around 20 horses for the Midlands Grand National and we are delighted to see last year’s winner Chase The Spud and also Milansbar who has raced well here before amongst the entries.
“There will be a few Uttoxeter experts who will certainly thrive in the going conditions.”
The weather has affected many courses and football fixtures but staff at Uttoxeter Racecourse have been working tirelessly to get the track ready for the big meeting this weekend.
“At the moment the ground is definitely heavy,” said MacDonald.
“We are seeing other race meetings in the Midlands abandoning like Stratford today.
“At the moment we are just about raceable and do we have some drying weather coming up in the next few days.
“With the wet weather you do have to protect the course and the ground staff can’t get on the course to do the work they would normally be doing around this time of the year.
“Normally there is some spring sunshine which helps the growing of the grass but we haven’t had that this year.
“The course this year just does not look how we want it to look because we haven’t had that sunshine.
Tickets at £15 for centre course, £25 for the grandstand and paddock tickets and £35 for the premier enclosure.
For more information visit https://www.uttoxeter-racecourse.co.uk/whats-on/betfred-midlands-grand-national