There was a time when Easter weekend saw Yarmouth return from winter hibernation to the start of an extended summer season. For racegoers and staff alike, that transition no longer exists.
Promoter Simon Franklin said: “We just carry on as usual these days. I have looked in the records and at one stage, the track only held two meetings each January and four in February.
“But they operated on minimal overheads and staff in those days and if owners were lucky, they maybe got some prize money.”
It has otherwise been an unspectacular winter season.
Simon said “It is hard work, we are just about holding our own. People don’t realise how marginal some of these figures are. For example, we increased our Thursday restaurant prices by £2 and the numbers of bookings plummeted to below Monday night bookings. But then you look at other restaurants in the town, they face similar tight margins.
“Going forward, the bookings have slowly recovered on a Thursday and are reasonably healthy on a Saturday which remains our most lucrative night. I notice there are a few tracks now who don’t have enough dogs to stage Saturday meetings, and that must be hurting them.
“Our kennel strength is solid at around 310-320, which is healthy enough. Ideally, if there was another slot available, I would love another daytime fixture.”
The local home finders scheme homed 105 ex-racers last year. The figure was slightly down on the previous year but they also stepped in to assist with a couple of emergency cases including an unwanted litter of pups.
They remain committed to re-homing every ex-racer, though it seems some of the pensioners are in no rush to put their feet up.
Pam Cross’s Abacus (Herberts Dilemma-Freaky Patch, Jul 12) heads an extensive list of 13 runners, all with in excess of 111 races on their cards.
|Millbank Al||Sep 12||153|
|Dromana Special||Jul 12||150|
|Darver Heart||Jul 12||127|
|Montore John Jo||May 12||126|
|Spray Tan||Sep 12||127|
|Exiles Brae||Jul 12||124|
|Alice Hawthorn||Oct 12||123|
|Stalham Raider||Nov 12||122|
|Blackrose Lassie||Nov 12||122|
|Ferndale Brae||Apr 12||121|
|Sophies Island||Sep 12||116|
|Somersham Bev||Aug 12||111|
The warmer weather inevitably brings faster going and the fastest 2018 four and six bends times were both recorded within the last week.
Paul Burr’s puppy Swift Sabbath (Superior Product-Swift Scrabble, Jul 16) clocked a highly impressive 27.76 (+10) for the 462 metres. (Marathon open racer Meadow was using the opportunity to keep fit and finished fourth).
On Saturday, Irene Barnard’s Droopys Eager (Greenwell Hawk-Droopys Oreleans, Oct 15) completed an A1-S1-S1 hat-trick in 40.90 – the quickest run over course and distance since Rubys Rascal’s 40.32, clocked on last year’s East Anglian Derby undercard.