Racing returns to Great Yarmouth

East Coast Lady, a former Newmarket winner, goes in Great Yarmouths 3.15pm race.

East Coast Lady, a former Newmarket winner, goes in Great Yarmouths 3.15pm race. - Credit: PA

The long awaited first meeting of the season gets under way at Great Yarmouth on Sunday afternoon with officials expecting a great crowd.

Glenn Tubby, Executive Director, said: 'I am delighted with declarations and grateful for the support from trainers.

'This day always sees our largest crowd of the year and it could be one of our best for many years. Advance tickets are up 20pc so we are looking forward to a busy day.'

After closing the course in September for £300,000 of remedial work, involving the levelling of ridges that had surfaced in the home straight, the course has kicked its heels this summer until racing was finally given the go-ahead by the British Horseracing Authority.

There is still an issue with a patch of ground and races are limited to 12 runners.

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'The report from the inspector acknowledged the unstable ground near the winning line and recognised concerns raised. While it is an issue that needs to be addressed in the longer term it was not deemed as sufficient an issue to prevent racing in the short term,' said the BHA.

Richard Aldous, Clerk of the Course, said: 'The remedial work requested by the BHA following the racecourse gallops had taken well, but has not withstood the 40mm rain since Monday. With rain forecast the decision has been taken to rail this area off. As a result the inside rail on the straight course will be moved in by 10 yards reducing the maximum for all races to 12.'

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The seven-race card starts at 2.10pm and it could prove profitable to follow former champion jockey Paul Hanagan who has outstanding chances in the first four races.

In the opening maiden for two-year-old fillies, Hanagan partners the Ed Dunlop trained Alqubbah for trainer Roger Varian.

The filly was third in a big field at Newbury a fortnight ago and looks to have most to fear from the Sir Michael Stoute trained Aberlady, runner-up at Kempton in July.

Hanagan rides the John Jenkins trained seven-year-old gelding Monsieur Jamie in the 2.40pm handicap, the gelding a Lingfield winner last week. Main rival is My Mate, a recent Doncaster runner-up under Franny Norton for veteran Newmarket trainer Clive Brittain.

Hanagan and Varian combine again in the 3.15pm mile handicap with three-year-old colt Estikhraaj, a Newmarket second following an earlier Thirsk victory. Tom Queally partners James Fanshawe's Up in Lights who could give Hanagan most to beat, having won a similar race at Nottingham in June.

The feature handicap over seven furlongs at 3.50pm could go to Hanagan and Varian with Mujaasem, a Salisbury winner although Baltic Brave was impressive when second at Newmarket.

A maximum field of 12 go in the 4.25pm handicap in which Yarmouth specialist Chris Wall runs Venus Marina under George Baker. The filly has won and been second at Lingfield in the last month.

Varian's One Pekan under claimer George Buckell could take the 4.55pm handicap despite the presence of Stoute's Indelible Ink while another maximum field of 12 completes the day at 5.25pm in the handicap over 10 furlongs.

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