Doncaster racecourse on Saturday will stage a virtual race meeting across their social media platforms to try and supply racegoers and fans that little bit of the sport that has been missing for the past few weeks.
Saturday was supposed be the tracks first flat meeting of the season and the card is one that every flat fan looks forward to with it symbolising the first big meeting of the summer season with the Unibet Lincoln being the feature contest.
The Yorkshire track has had a torrid time of things over the last six months with cancellations to big race meetings being more frequent than they would have liked.
Meetings that have been lost include the Group One Vertem Futurity Trophy, the November Handicap card and a Peaky Blinders-themed raceday, which had significant pre-sales.
However, the racecourse are not letting the past get them down and in an attempt to raise lift moral, an event billed as ‘The Flat Is Back – Virtually’ will see seven races shown across their social media channels with a race-card being released 10 minutes before race.
The virtual contests that are set to take place are Two divisions of the Brocklesby, two renewals of the Doncaster Mile, two runnings of the Spring Mile and still the feature on the day at Doncaster will be the Lincoln.
This is a great idea by the track and they are even introducing a quirky online best dressed contest that will see the winner win two tickets for a day at any Doncaster meeting of there choice.
(Credit At The Races) Head of marketing Emma Rouse said: “I had a bit of an epiphany on Monday night. The Flat was supposed to be back on Saturday and we’d put so much work into it as a team and we’d had good advanced sales.
“We didn’t want to lose that totally, so we thought we’d celebrate racedays gone by.“We’ve launched it with a post today, but an event will go out on Facebook with an animation explaining to people how they can get involved.
“Tomorrow we will launch the Best Dressed competition with the hashtag horsebound – rather than housebound. Hopefully people will dress up and there is the opportunity to win tickets to a future raceday before the end of December 2021.
“On Friday we’ll show a piece to camera which our raceday presenter, Natalie Green, has done introducing it all, so we’re hoping it’s going to build momentum.
“On Saturday we’ll show a virtual racecard from 1.30pm with all the runners and, using previous At The Races footage, we’ll play the races out.
“Yes, there will be people who remember who won, but there might be some who’ve never been racing before who see it and fancy a day at the races when it’s back on.
“We’ve really suffered at Doncaster lately. The annoying thing is that it seems to hit our big days – even our Peaky Blinders raceday in November.
“We had actually reached our target attendance figure in pre-sales alone before we opened the gates, which has never happened. We took the decision to continue with that one – a raceless raceday if you like, where the band still played.
“We have no idea when racing might resume, we’re obviously hoping the sooner the better, but if it helps keep interest warm, that will be great.”