Despite the terminology ‘temporary closure’ being applied to Folkestone Racecourse, its future looks bleak.
The ‘outdated’ facility is losing money and Shepway District Council seem in no mood to support its losses, despite its instance that it’s considering ‘alternative options’.
As Marc Goldstein headed past the winning post in the Eastwell Manor Handicap Steeple Chase, the victory meant more than most. His ride, Quartz du Montceau, may well be the last ever horse to win a race at Folkestone Racecourse.
The Westenhanger course has been home to horse racing in Kent since 1898. However, it seems the facilities are no longer up to scratch for owners Arena Racing Company.
Their official line is that the racecourse is temporarily closed to allow the facilities to be redeveloped. Mm. If you believe they put a man on the moon, is all I’ll say to that.
Folkestone Racecourse one of two ARC courses closed this week
The issue is no one is coming forth with any offer of cash to refurbish the course. ARC’s Tony Kelly has already attested publicly that the race track is losing money. Shepway District Council is said to be considering ‘alternative options’.
Earlier this week, a racecourse with an even greater history than Folkestone staged its final race meeting. However, for Hereford Racecourse, another ARC owned track, its fate is definitely sealed, along with its 241 years of racing history.
Everyone in the sport is devastated at the double-barrel loss. The Sporting Life has issued a fond ‘Farewell to Folkestone’ story. Whereas the Racing Post speaks of the ‘Sadness as Folkestone stages [its] final meeting’.
Insider tips abound for Folketone’s future
Horse racing is all about being in the know. The punters realise that Folkestone Racecourse is no ‘champagne and caviar’ meeting and are happy with the fact. Despite the acceptance of the racegoers, the tipsters are already consigning Westenhanger to history.
A council spokesperson also seemed to have a little insider knowledge. At least one possibility of funding the loss-making Folkestone Racecourse’s refurbishment has been disqualified after a steward’s enquiry.
Plans to build 800 further homes, one of the ‘alternative options’, are “unlikely to be acceptable”, she said.
The achievements made by Folkestone Racecourse to the locale over the years were acknowledged. However, the “important part to play in the future of the district” comment had something of a hollow ring to it.
If you’re a betting man, I’ll offer you odds-on that whatever plans there are for Folkestone Racecourse, they don’t involve horses. What say you?
Have Your Say:
- What can be done to halt racecourse closures, such as Folkestone and Hereford this week?
- Or is it the sport itself that’s dated and in need of an image overhaul, as Barry Hearn as done with darts?