FAMILIES are central to national hunt racing.

Without the commitment throughout the generations, young and old, the sport would not be as successful and enjoyable as it is today.

Family dynasties in jump racing, such as such as the Pipes and the Scudamores, have shown how a shared love for the sport transcends ages and can prove extremely successful.

We have another very good example close to home too with Herefordshire’s very own Richard Johnson, who rode his first winner Rusty Bridge owned by his grandfather.

It was lovely to see Richard’s son Caspar presenting a prize at our last meeting; he’s clearly sharing his dad’s love of the sport and racing is important to the next generation too.

I don’t think there are many sports that can demonstrate quite such a depth of talent and passion for a way of life that embraces both work and home.

It was therefore very fitting that our last meeting of our first season back racing after four years was the Family Fun Day.

As the examples of the families in our industry show, children and young people are clearly heavily involved in the sport’s future.

Encouraging young racegoers is also vitally important to ensure the ongoing viability for a racecourse like ours and so it was great to see that we were blessed with glorious sunshine last Sunday so that, alongside six exciting races, there was plenty for our youngest visitors to enjoy.

There was much fun to be had on the fairground rides, watching the Leominster Morris Men and joining in circus activities from World Jungle.

It was a lovely scene to round off a successful season.

Over the 10 meetings spanning six months, we welcomed more than 20,000 racegoers.

Some came back to Hereford and could be heard reminiscing about fondly held memories, delighted to see us back.

We also welcomed a lot of new people and our challenge going forward is to ensure we attract those people back again and again.

As we look to the next season, starting on October 17, we’ve got some exciting fixtures and partnerships to announce over the coming months.

We are exploring a number of themed race days and to continue to add new and different experiences to racing to keep it interesting for our loyal racegoers, as well as drawing in new ones.

Do keep watching this space.