THIS Saturday sees Hereford Racecourse stage the 188BET Ladies Day when we would hope for a busy crowd of approximately 3,000 racegoers. It is one of biggest racedays of the year with £80,00 prize money on offer and the launch of a new initiative aimed at encouraging grass roots opportunities for Mares (female horses).

The Hereford Mares Chase Series is made of up 10 similar races at ARC racecourses throughout the Midlands culminating in a valuable £30,000 Final at Hereford in December. The aim of the Series is to encourage Owners and Trainers to run Mares at Hereford and, in the words of local trainer Henry Daly; “The initiative provides a fantastic opportunity for some lesser grade horses to compete for valuable prize money, it’s a great idea.” Henry’s horses are in tremendous form at the moment and it is always nice to see local trainers doing well, especially when they have been so helpful and enthusiastic in helping rebuild Hereford Racecourse.

We have other ideas to enhance our race programme, and the initiative is one of a number of ideas we have been discussing for a while with the British Horseracing Authority to look at how we can build some of Hereford’s racedays into bigger occasions, in terms of attendance and profile of races.

The weather has again been a challenge with the Beast from the East hitting the racecourse hard last weekend. However, the team have done a fantastic job in dealing with burst pipes and major water leaks to shovelling snow off the track and sweeping it from the enclosures. I am very thankful of their drive and passion to get the show back on the road this week, and proud to work alongside such a committed team.

Ladies Day promises to offer something for everyone, be it the racing aficionado to the first-time racegoer, those coming to enjoy hospitality to those out to have fun with their friends. Thrilling racing, live music and comedy entertainment and Six Nations rugby are just some of the things racegoers can enjoy with us this Saturday. Advance tickets are strong, hospitality has sold out and all the signs are that we are set from a cracking day.

I hope you’ll join us and celebrate in the City’s sporting resurgence, with the Football Club and racecourse going from strength to strength thanks to the local community’s support of Hereford’s sporting heritage.