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Ticket Sales For Northumberland Plate Festival Racing Ahead

Racegoers Logging On To The Internet In Big Numbers To Book Their Places

THE two-day John Smith's Northumberland Plate Festival is set for a record attendance . . . and there's still almost a month to go until Newcastle Racecourse's biggest meeting of the year.

Forty thousand people are expected at Gosforth Park within the space of 24 hours between the evening of Friday 27 June and the following afternoon which features the race popularly known as the "Pitmen's Derby".

The racecourse's General Manager David Williamson today advised racegoers that the 7,000-capacity Premier Enclosure will be sold out in advance for Saturday 28 June.

He said: "It's very much a case of book now to avoid disappointment. Last year there were a few tickets remaining for the Premier Enclosure on the day. That just won't be the case this year because advance sales are already weeks ahead of those in previous years."

The sales boom has been partly driven by racegoers going online in increasing numbers to buy their advance tickets. Bookings made through the racecourse's web site account for 10% of all purchases this year.

The John Smith's Northumberland Plate is run on a day when the eyes of the racing world focus on Newcastle.

The race is the most valuable handicap run over two miles or more in Europe. The prize fund this year is £175,000 - a £35,000 increase on 2002.

The Class B open handicap has been run at Gosforth Park for more than 120 years and is the centrepiece of a Newcastle racecard that is worth a third of a million pounds.

The first part of the Plate Festival on Friday evening, when the feature race is the Northern Rock Gosforth Park Cup, is growing in popularity. Last year saw a record evening crowd for Newcastle Racecourse of 13,000. With tickets already selling well, an attendance of some 15,000 is anticipated.

Meanwhile, the racecourse has invested £80,000 this spring on permanent toilets specifically for the John Smith's Northumberland Plate Festival and the other major feature days at Newcastle Racecourse.

There will also be enhancements to the refreshment villages to increase the enjoyment and convenience for racegoers.

*The first races on Friday and Saturday 27 and 28 June are currently due off at 6.45pm and 1.40pm respectively. Gates open at 4pm and 11.30am respectively. Tickets for the Grandstand & Paddock Enclosure are £12 for Friday and £15 for Saturday and for the Premier Enclosure £20 and £25.
Accompanied children under 16 enter free. Senior citizens, disability pensioners, 16-18 year olds and students with appropriate identification, get a £2 discount into each enclosure.

More details about racing at Newcastle are available on web site The racecourse can be contacted on 0191 236 2020.



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