Towcester Racecourse

Towcester Racecourse was a horse racing course at Towcester (pronounced "Toe-ster") in Northamptonshire, England. It hosted National Hunt racing race meetings (over jumps) in the Winter months. It is situated on the Easton Neston estate. A greyhound racing track was opened in 2014 and staged the English Greyhound Derby until 2018. The course went into administration in August 2018 and the future of horse racing and greyhound racing at the venue became uncertain.

Towcester
Towcester racecourse logo.jpg
Towcester Racecourse Logo
LocationWatling Street, Towcester, Northamptonshire
Owned byThe Towcester Racecourse Company Ltd.
Date opened1928
Screened onSky Sports Racing
Course typeNational Hunt
Official website

In October 2019 it was announced that the course would not reopen following over 12 months in administration.[1]

Horse RacingEdit

The first meeting took place in 1928. The Towcester Racecourse Company was formed under the direction of Lord Hesketh, and it was on his then estate of Easton Neston, that the course was sited, and the first grandstand built.

Towcester is highly popular among the racing fraternity, because of the sharp bends in the course, and the final gallop to the finishing post is uphill, which tests the horses and results in some unexpected finishes.

In 2004 the Easton Neston estate, including the race course was put up for sale. Hesketh later decided to retain ownership of the course and sold only a portion of the estate to a Russian-born businessman.

Entry was free from 2002 until 2006, during which time the course saw attendance grow significantly. In mid-2006, it was announced that from 26 December 2006 Towcester will be charging for entry to their two most popular annual meetings; Boxing Day and Easter Sunday. Selected other meetings are free.

In 2008, Lord Hesketh decided to sell the course which is being offered as a going concern.

On 7 November 2013, jockey Tony McCoy got his 4,000th career win at Towcester, riding Mountain Tunes to win the Weatherbys Novices' Hurdle.[2]

Greyhound RacingEdit

A new greyhound racing track has been built inside the racecourse, which opened in December 2014.[3]

2018 administrationEdit

In August 2018 the future of Towcester racecourse was put in doubt. A statement released by the racecourse on 16 August read: "Towcester Racecourse Company Limited, proprietors of Towcester Racecourse, are currently experiencing trading difficulties and are in discussions with key stakeholders and professional advisers on the way forward. However, the directors have concluded that they have no alternative in the short term but to seek court protection and are now taking steps to place the company into administration. As a result, it is with regret that the greyhound meetings on this Friday, 17 August, and over the weekend at Towcester Racecourse have been cancelled.

"Whilst inevitably there will be considerable interest from customers, supporters and suppliers, the directors ask that they be given time to focus on exploring other options for the business and they anticipate there will be a further update in the next few days.

"The directors remain hopeful that despite the current situation, given the significant history of horseracing and more recently greyhound racing at Towcester, there will be significant interest from potential acquirers".

On 23 August KPMG were appointed as administrators and 134 out of 137 members of staff at the racecourse were made redundant, many having to claim statutory redundancy from the government.[4] On 13 November it was announced by the administrators that the racecourse's assets were being sold to a company called Fermor Land LLP.[5][6] This company was formed on 18 October (26 days before the sale) and is headed by Lord Hesketh's brother-in-law Mark Westropp, a trustee of the Hesketh Family trusts.[5][7]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Towcester Racecourse closed and remaining fixtures sold". BBC Sport. 1 October 2019. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  2. ^ "Tony McCoy celebrates 4,000th winner at Towcester on Mountain Tunes". Guardian UK. 7 November 2013. Retrieved 8 November 2013.
  3. ^ "New racecourse dog track set to open in time for Christmas". buckinghamtoday.co.uk. Retrieved 18 November 2014.
  4. ^ Barber, Bill (23 August 2018). "BHA to decide fate of Towcester fixtures as 134 staff are made redundant". Racing Post.
  5. ^ a b "Towcester racecourse assets sold to company linked to Hesketh family". Racing Post.
  6. ^ "SALE OF TOWCESTER – PRESS RELEASE FROM ADMINISTRATORS". Greyhound Star.
  7. ^ "Fermor Land LLP". Endole.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 52°7′41″N 0°58′22″W / 52.12806°N 0.97278°W / 52.12806; -0.97278