JCR reveal strong attendance figures
Jockey Club Racecourses have revealed strong attendances in 2012, despite the second wettest year on record.
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Fears the weather and competition from London 2012 may have an adverse affect on those coming through the turnstiles at their racecourses were dispelled with bumper crowds for the major meetings.
The Cheltenham Festival in March attracted a record 236,700 people for four days, the John Smith's Grand National Meeting saw a record three-day crowd of 154,000 at Aintree and in June, Investec Derby Day welcomed the biggest crowd in a sports venue in the UK in 2012, with more than 130,000 people descending on Epsom Downs.
Total average attendances across the 336 fixtures staged at Jockey Club Racecourses' 15 courses in 2012 increased year-on-year by 1.5% (5,278 people from 5,199).
Total attendances were 1.8 million in 2012, compared to 1.9 million in 2011, as a result of staging 29 fewer fixtures.
This included 26 fixture cancellations due to adverse weather, with prolonged periods of rain impacting crowds at fixtures that did go ahead at these times.
Paul Fisher, Group Managing Director of Jockey Club Racecourses, said: "2012 was a strong year for Jockey Club Racecourses and we look forward to publishing our annual results in due course, which will show a growth in our racing business and once again the amount we have contributed to prize money to support the sport and its participants.
"Star horses like Kauto Star and Frankel captured the public imagination, supported by the likes of Camelot and Big Buck's helping to increase British racing's profile and appeal. Our biggest events, from the Cheltenham Festival to the John Smith's Grand National Meeting, have never been bigger.
"Against a highly competitive backdrop and the second wettest year on record, we've managed to grow our average crowds at Jockey Club Racecourses, which is a great indicator of the health of British racing.
"That's despite losing some fixtures due to the inclement weather that would have attracted sizeable attendances, as well as those conditions consistently dampening walk-ups for periods when the sun is normally shining.
"Whether you look at our average attendances being up or if you take out the impact of the weather from our total attendances, the popularity of racing at our courses increased year-on-year.
"That's testament to the really hard work of our people on the ground and those helping us to promote the sport, and is a superb result when you consider the doom and gloom in the economy and the major sports events we competed with in 2012."