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Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Doors open: bank holiday event gives Epsom chance to be shown at its best

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Epsom will throw open its doors to the public on Monday, when visitors will get a behind-the-scenes insight into a racing hub in the process of trying to re-establish itself as a major training centre.

Eight yards will be open in the morning, followed by an afternoon of racing at the home of the Derby. It will feature a number of family-friendly activities on a bank holiday occasion organised by Racing Welfare and the Jockey Club.

Opening their yards are Jim Boyle, Michael Attwater, Pat Phelan, Roger Ingram, Simon Dow, Mark Pattinson, Adam West and 2016 St Leger-winning trainer Laura Mongan.

A hop-on hop-off bus service will be available to carry visitors around. The action starts at 8.30am, when horses will exercise on the Jockey Club gallops, before the yards are open to the public from 9.30am.

Classic-winning trainer Laura Mongan is among those to open up her yard
There are ambitious plans to upgrade facilities in Epsom, home to 200 racehorses, with Boyle hoping to secure planning approval for a new purpose-built yard at South Hatch Stables and Dow carrying out a complete rebuild of Clear Height Stables.

Downs House Stables, previous base of the Mitchell family, is to be the site of two new 30-box yards.

Boyle said: "It's an important day for Epsom. These open days are a very good PR exercise. Normally we get a lot of visitors who provide good feedback on how much they enjoy the day.

"There's lots going on for families, and the open morning and racing in the afternoon makes it a very enjoyable day out.

"It's always a good day to show people what goes on behind the scenes. What's particularly important for us is that we're in the midst of a planning application. They'll see the facilities we have and why we need to upgrade."

West added: "Racing Welfare do a wonderful job in organising it. They take the trainers' opinion very seriously and it's developed into a really great event.

"I know my owners have been looking forward to it, as have the general public. We love showing off what we've got and I'm very proud of it. It's great to see the community come together too."

Proceeds from the morning’s events will go to Racing Welfare, with funds raised going to support the charity’s Epsom-based activities.

A variety of superhero-themed activities will complement an eight-race card plus the ‘Hop Til You Drop’ Space Hopper Derby, in which racing staff will race up the finishing straight at the racecourse.

Tickets for the open morning cost £7.50, with a combined ticket to the open morning and the racing £20. Under 18s go free.

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It's an important day for Epsom. These open days are a very good PR exercise
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