Riders' joy at chance to gallop round Towcester Racecourse

National hunt track throws open its doors to horse lovers frustrated by coronavirus lockdown
View from the saddle for riders galloping around Towcester RacecourseView from the saddle for riders galloping around Towcester Racecourse
View from the saddle for riders galloping around Towcester Racecourse

Hot-to-trot horse lovers can now experience the “incredibly exhilarating” thrill of galloping round a real racecourse.

Riders are being given the chance to test their trusty steeds on Towcester’s famous national hunt track.

The racecourse is throwing open its doors to equestrians in the race to return to a ‘new normal’ after the Covid-19 crisis.

Ellie Shelton from Roade enjoys the thrill of racingEllie Shelton from Roade enjoys the thrill of racing
Ellie Shelton from Roade enjoys the thrill of racing

One of the first to try out the track was Ellie Shelton, an NHS district nurse from Roade.

She said: “It was great fun to have a blast in such lovely surroundings.

“We are hoping to do our first event later in the year, COVID allowing, so I am trying to get my horse, Gamble, fit. Towcester is perfect.”

Vicki Anderton, from Hertfordshire, who arrived with her dark bay Fergus, said: “We had been looking for somewhere to gallop our horses but were struggling because of the hard ground and all the walkers and cyclists using our normal hacking routes during the lockdown.

It's a dream come true for Lynsey Richardson from RothwellIt's a dream come true for Lynsey Richardson from Rothwell
It's a dream come true for Lynsey Richardson from Rothwell

“Towcester was the perfect solution. We had the track to ourselves. All four of us left hot, sweaty and very happy.”

Lynsey Richardson - a British Horse Society accredited professional coach from Rothwell - said: “What a fabulous opportunity it is to ride around a racecourse. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do! The horses loved it and it’s great to be able to really let them go within a safe environment and on good ground.”

Michelle Baker, of Equine Events, who manages the sessions for the racecourse, said: “There is a huge amount of excitement about this in the equestrian community.

“Riders rarely get the chance to really put their horses through their paces. It is incredibly exhilarating.

Vicki Anderton and Louisa Carson enjoy a run round Towcester RacecourseVicki Anderton and Louisa Carson enjoy a run round Towcester Racecourse
Vicki Anderton and Louisa Carson enjoy a run round Towcester Racecourse

“It is a dream of mine come true to see riders and horses really enjoying themselves like this.”

Towcester Racecourse marketing manager Luke McLaren said: “For the first time ever we are offering the track for individual or group hire.

“Horse lovers can experience the thrill and adrenaline of riding around a professional racecourse, alone or with friends.

“Our circuit is renowned for its steadily climbing, long slopes and sweeping bends over 1.5 miles.

“It’s a place where you and your horse can enjoy a simple, leisurely walk, a good blast or a long canter.”

Individuals can hire the track for an hour for £50 and there is a discount for groups of five friends. The offer currently excludes under-18s for insurance reasons. Social distancing measures have been established for the riders.

To book the track, visit www.towcester-racecourse.co.uk and click on the ‘Track Hire’ tab.

Greyhound racing returned to Towcester recently behind closed doors.

The venue also has a series of drive-in cinema and theatre events planned, starting this week.

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