Boxing Day horse racing at Huntingdon Racecourse is as much a part of Christmas as turkey, mulled wine and crackers.
With up to 8,000 people descending on the jumps racecourse, it’s one of the most popular sporting events and family days out in the Huntingdon area during the year.
There will be mulled cider and ‘Huntingdon Snowballs’ for adults to drink, plus soft ‘Huntingdon Babyballs’ for youngsters, and Christmas carols sung by a local choir to enjoy.
Visitors have every incentive to buy their Boxing Day tickets in advance and get along early to the racecourse. Prices on the day start at just £10 for adults – with savings available for advance purchase. All accompanied under 18s are admitted free of charge.
The gates of the racecourse will open at 10.45am for a first race time of 12.45pm, with the day sponsored by Stan James bookmakers. The finale is at 3.40pm. The feature race is the £20,000 StanJames.com Mares’ Bumper.
Nadia Gollings, General Manager, Huntingdon Racecourse, said: “We’re all geared up for a great family Christmas day out with our Boxing Day jump racing. It is always among our most popular racing days of the year.
“With all accompanied children admitted free and admission for adults just £9 or £18 in advance, Boxing Day at Huntingdon Racecourse is also a very affordable Christmas day out for families.
“The forecast for Christmas indicates that severe weather is not expected, so that is great news.
“I would really urge people to set off in plenty of time to get to the racecourse on Boxing Day. The racecourse is clearly signed, with a number of routes in place, and we urge all visitors to follow these routes and to get here early.
“We are looking forward to a great day – which is such a part of local Christmas celebrations.”
Guide to Boxing Day horse racing
So, what should visitors know before they set out and as they arrive at the racecourse?
Set off early: The entrance gates will be open from 10.45am. The sooner people arrive, the less time they’ll spend in traffic.
What to wear: Dress for the weather - warm is best! People move around the racecourse quite a bit, so put on comfortable shoes.
How much does it cost?: Accompanied under 18s get into the racecourse free of charge. Tickets booked in advance for all racing days are discounted by ten per cent at www.huntingdon-racecourse.co.uk or on the ticket hotline on 0844 579 3007. Boxing Day Main Enclosure tickets are £18 in advance (£20 on the day). The Picnic Enclosure is £9 in advance (£10 on the day). Students receive 33% discount when booking online.
Parking: All parking is free.
Food and drink: Visitors are welcome to bring their own picnic into the car parks and Picnic Enclosure, but food and drink cannot be brought into the Main Enclosure. There are numerous concession outlets available.
The racecard: The official racecard is invaluable. The silks worn by the jockeys are displayed in colour. The racecard shows the recent record of each horse running, the weight the horse will carry in the race, and the name of the jockey and trainer.
Betting: People put their money on with the bookmakers or with the Tote. They ‘take a price’ with a bookmaker at the time when they put your money on, whereas with the Tote the bet goes into a pool, with the winnings decided after the race.
Choosing a horse to back: Visitors can watch the horses in the parade ring. They read the form – or just choose their favourite jockey or a horse whose name they like or whose rider is wearing their favourite colour. After all, it’s just a bit of fun.
The races: Now watch the races from the grandstands and cheer the winners as they come back into the winners’ enclosure.
Online: More information can be found at www.huntingdon-racecourse.co.uk or by calling the racecourse on 01480 453373.