A race for life
- Credit: SUB
Wincanton Racecourse, right on the edge of town, hosts 17 days of jump racing from October to May and welcomes up to 50,000 race goers each year.
Chairman Guy Henderson sees the venue as an important community leisure facility and describes it as a ‘country racecourse’. “Almost everyone who comes here lives in the countryside or in a country or market town,” he explains.
Commandeered by the armed forces in World War Two, Wincanton Racecourse was afterwards saved when local people bought it and the community still feels it has a special bond with the place.
“There is still quite a strong heritage of family and local connections with the racecourse,” adds Guy.“As things modernise it’s important not to lose that sense of history. While we look to the future, we learn from the past. Wincanton is also at the centre of a circle of military bases so we are keen to connect with these constituencies. In October we will host an Armed Forces and Families race day in aid of the veterans’ mental health charity Combat Stress.”
Wincanton became one of the first racecourses to be owned by the Jockey Club and there is rolling plan of improvements to the facilities with it being used for weddings, conferencesand exhibitions.
But for many it’s still the thrill of the race that brings them to Wincanton. “It’s the combination of the magnificence of the thoroughbred race horse and competition at a number of levels,” adds Guy. “There is a wonderful camaraderie and the sheer excitement of the races. It’s a lovely day out!”
Upcoming events include Children’s Day on 13 April, Evening Racing on 8 May and Ladies Day on 13 May.