Hail Hereford: Jump racing back after four-year absence

Hereford: Back in the fold which is good news for jumps fans

PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos) Racing back after four-year absence By David Baxter 3:52PM 5 OCT 2016

Hereford reopens its doors to jump racing under rules for the first time in four years on Thursday, David Baxter explains how this historic moment came to pass.

Why is this a big deal?

In recent years the trend was for courses to close, with Hereford, Folkestone and Great Leighs all shutting, so Hereford rising again is a cause for celebration for racing fans and a boost to the local area. The course has a long and storied history, over two centuries worth, so it is a welcome addition to the ranks again.

Has it happened before?

Great Leighs was reborn as Chelmsford City, but once the death knell sounds for tracks it is unusal for them to resurface. There was a host of courses that closed throughout the 20th Century, and with Hereford back there is now 60 tracks operating in Britain.

Have trainers got behind the reopening?

Early signs are encouraging, with 64 runners spread across Thursday's seven races. Champion trainer Paul Nicholls is sending three runners, while champion jockey Richard Johnson, born in Hereford, has six rides.

What's the track like?

A right-handed course, roughly square in design, you need a galloper at Hereford as it is a relatively stiff track that becomes really testing when the ground is soft or worse.

What does the future hold?

Following Thursday's meeting, Hereford stages another three fixtures in 2016, and another 11 meetings are scheduled for 2017.

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