Sussex racecourses Fontwell Park and Plumpton are offering festive and fun-filled family days out over the holiday period, with under-18s going completely free of charge in a campaign promoted by TV's David Walliams.
Great British Racing’s Under-18s Race Free campaign has been created to highlight the fact that young people can go racing for free at almost every single British racecourse.
Fontwell Park offers some exciting Boxing Day racing when, alongside the racing, the site will be transformed into a winter wonderland complete with reindeer, ice rink and plenty of games stalls. Tickets start at £19 and accompanied under-18s are admitted free.
At Plumpton on Sunday, January 6, the Sky Sports Racing Sussex National includes some top-notch racing alongside some great family entertainment and live music. Tickets start at £18 and children under-18 are again admitted free of charge.
Walliams, a Britain’s Got Talent judge and star of hit TV show Little Britain, teamed up with Great British Racing to create a series of comedy sketches that promote the fact that under-18s race free.
The series, entitled ‘Horsing Around’ and written by Walliams, also stars The Crown actor Billy Jenkins.
Keen to teach his father (Walliams) about a day at the races, Billy has to endure his father’s bumbling character in a series of scenes, including an awkward encounter with former champion jockey Ryan Moore, meeting a racehorse, experiencing the excitement of the parade ring as well as watching a race by the rails.
Walliams said: “I had a ball filming Horsing Around and really enjoyed my time at the track. It’s clear that there’s loads for families to enjoy at their local racecourse. The Under 18s Race Free initiative is a brilliant concept that I hope more families will take advantage of.”
Go to under18sracefree.com to watch Horsing Around and to find out more about your local family raceday.
Meanwhile while most of the population dig into Christmas lunch and a glass of champagne on Christmas Day, approximately 6,500 stable staff across the UK will be working hard to ensure that more than 14,000 racehorses are exercised, fed and cared for in the lead-up to the Boxing Day races, one of the biggest and busiest days in the racing calendar, which of course includes a raceday at Fontwell.
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To showcase the vast amount of activities undertaken by dedicated stable staff on a daily basis and highlighting the hard work that goes into Christmas Day and preparing for the holiday racing season, Great British Racing have created a special video to thank them for their efforts over Christmas. See it here
There will be more than 350 horses racing on Boxing Day with over 100 jockeys competing. This makes it one of the busiest and most exciting days in the racing calendar with eight fixtures taking place all over the country. However, even those which are not racing will be receiving expert care over the Christmas period, just as they do throughout the year.
Oliver Sherwood, Grand National-winning trainer in 2015, described how hard his staff work over the festive period in order to have his horses in the best shape possible.
“It’s dedication – end of story. They’ve got to be dedicated to work with horses all year round,” he said.
“Everybody comes in on Christmas Day and they know exactly where they stand, we get the whole lot out very quickly.
“There’s plenty of jokes, it’s just a question of light-heartedness and being professional at the same time.’