Courses make hay on Ladies Days

The increasing value of Ladies Day meetings to racecourses is clear from a look at the attendances for the 2018 Ladies Days in Britain.

In many cases, particularly for the smaller tracks, the attendance for a Ladies Day meeting can dwarf attendances for regular meetings. As such the days are hugely important for courses as so many new or once-a-year attendees will be present at a Ladies Day.

The Horseracing Betting Levy Board compiles the attendances at all meetings in Britain and some of the numbers are eyewatering. Ascot’s Ladies Day, on the Thursday of the Royal meeting drew a crowd of 70,046, second only to the 74,417 who came for the Saturday of that meeting. When Ascot held their next day’s racing on Friday July 13, the crowd was just 8,925.

Both Cheltenham and Aintree had over 50,000 for their Ladies Days at their big meetings of the year, while three other tracks, Goodwood, Epsom and York each attracted crowds over 20,000 to Ladies Day in 2018

The effect that a Ladies Day can have on a track is best illustrated by Newcastle. Their July 28 meeting, a fairly low standard meeting with the feature a handicap worth around £15,000 to the winner, attracted 15,677. Northumberland Plate day the previous month, by contrast, attracted just 11,799, while the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at the start of December – a race that saw reigning Champion Hurdler Buveur D’Air take on Irish raider Samcro – drew a mere 4,572. The following Wednesday just 194 were present for a flat meeting.

The influence of Ladies Days in boosting tracks coffers and attracting new racegoers to courses looks set to continue for a long time to come.

2018 Ladies Day Attendances

Ascot  – 70,046
Cheltenham – 58,959
Aintree – 50,905
Goodwood – 21,855
Epsom – 21,802
York – 21,289
Newmarket – 17,166
Newcastle – 15,677
Chester – 15,673
Chelmsford – 14,714
Newbury – 13,305
Doncaster – 12,767
Leicester – 12,118
Beverley – 12,012
Haydock – 11,844
Worcester – 10,519
Musselburgh – 10,020
Hamilton – 9,559
Market Rasen – 9,288
Southwell – 8,096
5,000-8,000: Stratford, Nottingham, Perth, Redcar, Salisbury, Pontefract, Bath, Thirsk

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