Figures reveal near record crowds on bank holiday weekend
Racecourse attendances over the Easter weekend were up 99 per cent on the corresponding period last year, fueled by good racing and weather.
The total attendance of 93,235 across the 20 meetings held over the four days fell marginally shy of the previous recent high of 93,395, achieved in 2011, when there were 19 meetings and the weekend included the final day of the jumps season.
Just 46,934 attended last year's Easter fixtures, when the holiday fell on the last weekend in March and bad weather contributed to only 14 of the 17 scheduled fixtures taking place.
This year's expanded Good Friday programme witnessed Lingfield welcoming a record 10,817 crowd for all-weather finals day, Bath's new fixture attracting 9,200, and Newcastle's all-weather card, which featured a new £100,000 conditions contest, 5,775.
Haydock entertained 7,000 for its second Challenger Series Finals Day on Saturday, while 5,022 racegoers were at Musselburgh the same afternoon for Queen's Cup day, and 5,587 at Newton Abbot.
Chepstow had a bumper 8,635 through the gates on Easter Monday, and Plumpton’s fixtures on Sunday and Monday attracted in excess of 7,500 combined.
Crowds at the open days at Lambourn and Middleham on the Friday and Monday respectively were estimated at 10,000 and 2,500-plus.
Stephen Atkin, chief executive of the Racecourse Association, said: "The commitment that racecourses have made to putting on quality racing across the Easter period has clearly benefited the sport and proved a hit with racegoers.
"Following on from record numbers at Christmas, we've seen brilliant crowds across the board over Easter, highlighting the importance of staging racing when the vast majority of the public can attend.
"The credit must go to the forward-thinking racecourse teams for ensuring competitive racing as well as putting on a wide range of other entertainment to help draw in a diverse crowd."
Rod Street, chief executive of Great British Racing, added: "The increases come on the back of the very positive figures for Christmas and those for 2016, which saw racing regain its position as the second-best attended sport.
"Racecourses worked hard to put on brilliant family entertainment in addition to the quality racing they staged and, with children under 18 free, the sport is a great day out for all the family."
Easter attendances for the last ten years
2008 48,447 total attendance 14 meetings 3,461 avg attendance
2009 67,902 14 4,850
2010 47,431 12 3,953
2011 93,395 19 4,916
2012 50,626 15 3,375
2013 56,715 16 3,545
2014 75,333 18 4,185
2015 73,030 16 4,564
2016 46,934 14 3,352
2017 93,235 20 4,662