Huntingdon Racecourse - surviving the pandemic and then came the floods!

Huntingdon Racecourse groundsman Sam Butler Spelzini standing on the course after the flooding.

Huntingdon Racecourse groundsman Sam Butler Spelzini standing on the course after the flooding. - Credit: HUNTINGDON RACECOURSE

With Fitzdares Peterborough Chase Day returning this Sunday and the big race shaping up to be a real thriller, there is much to look forward to after the challenges of the last couple of years.

No business, community or individual has been left untouched by the pandemic and its effects, and like many sporting venues across the country our 2019/20 season was curtailed, with six of our scheduled race meetings cancelled due to the suspension of racing.

Huntingdon Racecourse general manager James Wilcox.

Huntingdon Racecourse general manager James Wilcox. - Credit: HUNTINGDON RACECOURSE

The situation appeared to be improving when sport was allowed to resume behind closed doors, meaning racing could at least return in some form to Huntingdon from the autumn, but this time last year brought further disruption with one of the worst flooding incidents to hit Huntingdon in 20 years.

Six further fixtures were lost but more significantly, ground floor facilities across the site were badly damaged. Once the flood waters retreated it was clear that it would be a long road to return the racecourse to full strength.

This meant even when spectators were able to return earlier this year we were not able to accommodate them, and we continue to operate with some temporary facilities in place while works to refurbish the damaged areas and safeguard them for the future are underway.

We are hugely appreciative for the patience and understanding shown by our annual badge holders, racegoers and others who have returned to Huntingdon this autumn, and we are working as hard as we can to ensure the racecourse returns to its best as soon as possible.

The racecourse team have worked tirelessly throughout this time to make the best of difficult circumstances and offer the best experience that we can and the positive news is that their efforts and the patience of all of our customers can be rewarded with what is shaping up to be a fantastic day of sport on Sunday.

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The entries for Fitzdares Peterborough Chase, our most prestigious race at Huntingdon, look outstanding with a runner from all-conquering Irish trainer Henry de Bromhead potentially taking on some of the best British opposition including eight-time winning trainer Nicky Henderson.

I do hope that you can join us for what promises to be a superb day, and a sign of brighter things to come for Huntingdon Racecourse.