Arabian racing in Britain is to get a boost this summer with five new fixtures at Hereford racecourse.

The racetrack, which shut in December after more than 200 years of racing, is opening its gates again — for five Arabian race meetings between May and August. The first date will be Sunday, 5 May.

Hereford was closed at the end of last year, as owners Arena Racing Company (ARC) said it was not financially viable to keep it open. Arab racing had been held at the course for 10 years.

“The closure of the track last year devastated everyone in racing,” said Amanda Smith of the Arabian Racing Organisation (ARO).

“We have a lot of horses in that area so we were incredibly disappointed. We hope that by holding five meetings at the track, we will attract a regular following and increase the profile of Arabian Racing.”

And the new fixtures means a 20% rise in dedicated Arabian racing fixtures this season from last — to 12 in total. The flagship fixture of the season, the Dubai International Arabian Race Day at Newbury, will be held on Thursday, 15 August.

ARC have kept on two ground staff to “keep things ticking over”.

“They’ve done a great job — you can’t tell the course has been closed,” added Amanda. “We visited last week and were very pleased with the state of the track.”

Jim Allen of ARC added: “We are delighted to have been able to find a way for the facilities at Hereford to be used while we develop our longer term strategy for the venue.”

For more information visit: www.aroracing.co.uk

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (28 March 2013)