Great Yarmouth Racecourse ready to saddle up for three-day festival
- Credit: Archant
A seaside racecourse is gearing up for its flagship event, which is odds-on to boost to local economy too.
The three-day Eastern Festival at Great Yarmouth, which starts on Tuesday, September 19, attracts around 12,000 visitors to the town.
Top owners, trainers and jockeys will be chasing a £240,000 pot of winnings, while a Ladies Day sees female turf fans dressed in their finery.
But, with racegoers staying overnight, it also provides a big boost for local hotels, holiday parks, restaurants, shops and attractions.
Racecourse marketing manager Deanna Auker said the track drew up to 70,000 visitors each season – but the autumn Eastern Festival was the most prestigious single event.
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'The prize money attracts a better class of horse. Owners, trainers, and jockeys are prepared to travel a bit further to visit us.'
Last year the festival's top race, the John Musker Fillies Stakes, was won by So-Mi-Dar, ridden by Frankie Dettori and owned by musical impresario Andrew Lloyd Webber who visited the course on race day.
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Mrs Auker added: 'As soon as the dates are released people are booking hotels. Some are full and we know from feedback that it helps cafes, shops, seafront businesses and even market traders.'
Caister Haven Holiday Park general manager Gareth Brown, who is also chairman of the Greater Yarmouth Tourism and Business Improvement Area which promotes the borough to visitors, said: 'I see our guests dressed in their tweed waiting for taxis to the course. It brings people to the area in an off peak 'shoulder season' week when they visit attractions, shops and eateries.'
Among the hotels benefiting from the festival is the Prom Hotel on the seafront, where co-owner Ian Scott said: 'We always look forward to the three-day festival. A lot of our guests book up a year in advance, to ensure their favourite room is available to them.
Great Yarmouth's Eastern Festival sees gates open from noon and racing from about 2pm. Ladies' Day is on the Thursday, when there is £1,000 worth of prizes from intu Chapelfield for the best-dressed women.
For tickets and more information visit www.greatyarmouth-racecourse.co.uk or call 01493 842527.