Racecourses up and down the country are gearing up for their December programmes which include racing, parties and bags of fun!

Here is your quick guide to some of the more unusual offerings – along with a range of special ticket deals for those who plan to get out and about for some festive frolics.

Saturday 10th December – Christmas National Hunt Meeting at Doncaster

While there will be stiff competition amongst the horses at Doncaster’s Christmas meeting, spectators will be able to enjoy a challenge of their own.

Darts legends Eric Bristow, Russ Brays and Keith Deller will be ready to take you on in the Grandstand Enclosure in their 9 Dart Challenge! And there are some fabulous prizes up for grabs too.

PLUS: Bring the kids and they enter for free when accompanied by a fully paying adult. We also have it on good authority that a certain Mr Claus will be making a stop at Doncaster Racecourse during the afternoon!

General admission prices start at £7 per person – for a full price list visit www.doncaster-racecourse.co.uk.

Thursday 15th December – Santas Run at Exeter

Racegoers will witness the first ever Santas on the Run to take place on a racecourse when a herd of Santas, including racing celebrities, will be charging down the home straight for Children’s Hospice South West at this festive meeting.

It’s also an opportunity to see some Cheltenham Festival hopefuls in action with plenty of high-calibre horses expected.

PLUS: Exeter Racecourse has an early Christmas treat with pre-booked grandstand and paddock tickets available for £10 each.

For discounted tickets call 0844 5793055 or visit www.exeter-racecourse.co.uk and quote DEC152011 for 15 December. Terms and conditions apply.

Friday 16th December – Christmas Party with Live Reindeer Racing at Kempton Park

Christmas at Kempton Park Racecourse will be an event to remember this year!

Whether you are a Vixen, a Prancer or a Dancer you will be able to celebrate the Christmas season in style this year at the Reindeer Racing Christmas Party Night.

The event, which features The William Hill Reindeer Derby, on the floodlit all-weather track, is available for either shared or private parties.

Guests will enjoy a Winter Pimm’s drinks reception on arrival and a festive three-course meal before heading onto the racetrack to place their bets on the reindeer racing along the final furlong.

Packages include a welcome drink on arrival, three-course festive menu, Christmas crackers and festive novelties, live reindeer racing and a DJ & disco until 12.30am.

Tickets cost £55 including VAT per person (minimum booking 10 people).

PLUS: Christmas party hospitality without reindeer racing is also available at race meetings on Wednesday 7, Thursday 8, Wednesday 14, Thursday 15, and Wednesday 21 December.

For more information or to make a booking contact the sales team at Kempton Park Racecourse on 01932 753518 or visit www.kempton.co.uk

Monday 19th December – Christmas Fixture at Bangor-on-Dee Racecourse  

Enjoy an afternoon of competitive jump racing on Monday 19th December at Bangor-on-Dee, with a seven-race card. To get you into the mood for the festive period, visit Santa in his Grotto, listen to Carol Singers in the Paddock and warm up with a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie.

The first race takes place at 12.40pm and last at 3.40pm, with gates opening at 10.30am. The feature race of the day is The DTM Legal Handicap Steeple Chase at 12.40pm.

There will be a FREE bus from Wrexham General Station to the racecourse at 11.10 am, returning at 4.10 pm. Course tickets are available from £7, and Paddock tickets from £17 in advance.

PLUS: A free pint of Christmas ale is also available to those purchasing a Paddock Enclosure ticket in advance (must be redeemed by 12 noon).

To buy tickets, please call the Racecourse Box Office on 01244 304 610 or visit www.bangorondeeraces.co.uk

Monday 26th December – Boxing Day at Wincanton

Wincanton’s festive Boxing Day fixture traditionally attracts over 12,000 racegoers. It‘s the perfect place to work off the excesses of the previous day with six competitive races to punt on.

The Pavilion provides the ideal base for the whole family throughout the day, offering complimentary tea or coffee in the morning, followed by a two-course buffet lunch and light afternoon tea for £70.

Gates open at 10am with a Paddock Panel Preview before the first race at 12.30pm. The course provides free car parking and will operate a complimentary park and ride service from Morrison’s supermarket in Wincanton.

Steve Parlett, Wincanton’s General Manager says: “We look forward to welcoming a big crowd to Wincanton this Boxing Day. Incentives are a great way of encouraging people to come racing to their local track – there’s no Scrooge at Wincanton Racecourse this Christmas!”

PLUS: In true Festive spirit, all Boxing Day tickets purchased in advance will receive a ‘Buy One Get One Free’ voucher for Wincanton’s Champion Hurdle Trial Raceday, a premier fixture, stage on Saturday 18th February 2012.

PLUS PLUS: A £10 voucher for future hospitality!
Hospitality has already sold out in the Kingwell and Winning Post restaurants. With limited seating available in the Paddock Pavilion, that provides an ideal base throughout the day, Wincanton is offering £10 hospitality voucher on all bookings valid for January 21st. The Pavilion package costs £70 for a two-course buffet lunch and light afternoon tea with concessions for children.

Book now on 01963 32344.

26 & 27 December – Wetherby’s two-day Christmas Meeting

All roads lead to Wetherby for the traditional two-day Welcome to Yorkshire Christmas Meeting on Boxing Day Monday and Bank Holiday Tuesday. With prize money in excess of £109,000 up for grabs this prestigious fixture is set to attract several of the country’s top horses, as preparations continue for both the Cheltenham and Grand National festivals in the spring.

Racing on Boxing Day Monday begins at 12.20pm and the principal race of the afternoon is The Betfair Rowland Meyrick Handicap Chase, a Grade 3 contest for stayers over three miles and one furlong offering prize money of £40,000. Synonymous with Wetherby’s Christmas Meeting for many years, this race commemorates a former clerk of the course, who officiated between 1919 and 1947.

Bank Holiday Tuesday’s programme is set to begin at 12.35pm and the afternoon’s main race, The Castleford Handicap Chase, is a contest for chasers over the specialist distance of two miles, with the contenders attacking their fences at speed.

The giant screen will be in use during the meeting, and will also be showing the action from Kempton Park on Boxing Day, featuring The King George VI Chase, while The Welsh National is featured on Bank Holiday Tuesday from Chepstow.

Musical entertainment during the meeting is provided by ‘LA Jazz’ and the Endeavour Ceilidh Band, while ‘Musical Ruth’ – the singing nun – will be giving a rendition on Boxing Day. The team from Rigmoor Reindeer are bringing a couple of reindeer to add to the attractions on Boxing Day, which also includes an array of trade stands.

As usual, accompanied children under 15 years of age are admitted free of charge into all enclosures. There’s also a dedicated ‘Parenting Room’ in the Paddock Enclosure, with baby-changing facilities, microwave and comfy chairs.

PLUS: The gates open on both days at 10am, and there’s complimentary mulled wine and mince pies for the ‘early birds’ on Boxing Day. There’s also a free to enter on-course competition to win an Amazon Kindle.

Tuesday 27th December – Welsh National at Chepstow

The highlight of the Welsh racing calendar and Chepstow Racecourse’s most prestigious meeting of the year, the Coral Welsh National on Bank Holiday Tuesday 27th December promises thrilling racing with top trainers and jockeys competing for the glory of this year’s Welsh National crown.

This is an ideal opportunity to socialise with family and friends over the festive period enjoying Christmas choirs and Winter PIMM’S in the stunning setting of the Wye Valley.

The Premier Plus package is great value at £70 per person and includes:

  • A Premier Ticket
  • Access to a private marquee
  • Delicious one-course meal
  • Welcome drink
  • Raceday programme
  • £12 tote betting discount booklet.

PLUS: Groups of ten guests are entitled to reserve an exclusive table within the marquee for the duration of the race meeting. Please note that places are very limited for this package so please book soon to avoid disappointment.
For more information please call 01291 622260 or see www.chepstow-racecourse.co.uk.

Thursday 29 December – Final Fling at Kelso

This is a new fixture and a chance to get out the house after the Festive period and enjoy a fantastic National Hunt Card.

The Pavilion Marquee is offering racegoers an excellent value package: for £40 per person you can enjoy:

  • Members Enclosure Badges
  • Race Cards
  • Reserved Table for the Day
  • Hot Casserole Lunch
  • Coffee and Mince Pies

For more information see www.kelso-races.co.uk

Allison Graham

Allison is the Publisher of Eclipse Magazine. She loves going to the Races and is learning to bet (despite being officially the worst bettor in the History of the Universe), there's a lot more to learn...

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