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Interim results reveal loss for racecourse

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Turnover increased in the first half of the year, but Newbury Racecourse made a loss of half-a-million pounds

NEWBURY Racecourse made a loss of half-a-million pounds in the first half of the year, £200,000 less than the previous year, thanks mainly to the success of its Newbury Live music events and new racing sponsors.

The company's turnover increased by more than £1.3m to more than £5.63m year on year, but says the outlook for income from racing remains challenging.

Last year, the full year losses were £497,000, better than the £668,000 loss the previous year. Most major racing fixtures are in the second half of the year.

The nursery on the site, the Rocking Horse Nursery brought in £401,000, at a profit of £132,000, and the golf course £102,000, with £10,000 profits, with both bringing in more than the year before.

In his first financial statement as chairman, Dominic Burke said that the rebranding of the racecourse as a stand-alone music venue had been a success.

“We are pleased with the result of our first Newbury Live event on a non race day which saw 15,000 people visit the racecourse to watch Rod Stewart.

“This was our first stand-alone concert and it was a profitable event.”

Mr Burke added that the cancellation of the Totesport.com Handicap Hurdle in February – when two horses, Marching Song and Fenix Two, died in the parade ring after being electrocuted – did impact revenues, but said the loss of profits were insured.

The event was rescheduled and staged later the same month.

Mr Burke indicated that the racecourse's future success may rest on diversification: “We look forward to building on the success that the Party in the Paddock and Newbury Live events have delivered for the company. These, combined with the good progress the company is making with the redevelopment programme, mean we are on course to deliver on our stated strategy of developing the racecourse into a profitable leisure and events business with horseracing at its core.”

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