Free Friday, at Southwell Racecourse on April 20, offers the chance for a free evening at the races
Free Friday, at Southwell Racecourse on April 20, offers the chance for a free evening at the races

Free Friday — an event that gives people the chance to attend a race meeting free of charge — takes place at Southwell Racecourse on Friday, April 20.

The idea started four years ago and was initially aimed at people in the Newark and Southwell areas.

Racecourse marketing assistant Will Bowler said those meetings proved popular so it was decided to widen the offer.

It is now available to new and regular racegoers, regardless of where they live.

As a result, Free Friday continues to grow in popularity.

“It gives people who are new to race-going the chance to see what is on offer,” Will said.

“Hopefully they will have a good evening here and then go away and tell their friends about it and pass the message on. It’s all about word of mouth.”

The event is an ideal opportunity to get out with friends and family and enjoy a fun evening at Southwell Racecourse — one of the premier sporting venues in the East Midlands, with both an all-weather and turf track.

“This fixture is ideal for newcomers and seasoned race-goers,” Will said.

“There will be a great atmosphere, some exciting racing and live music to end the evening.” 

The meeting will be a seven-race card over the jumps.

Hundreds of racegoers

Gates open at 2.50pm. The first race is at 4.50pm and the last at 7.55pm.

Once the racing has finished there will be live music from Flipside Party Band. The event finishes at 9pm.

Last year Free Friday attracted about 1,500 race-goers, and Will is hoping there will be even more this year.  

“Obviously it can depend on the weather but we want to try to get as many people along as we can,” he said.     

Two free grandstand passes — normally worth £22 if booked in advance or £28 on the day — are available to every applicant. 

A shuttle bus service to the racecourse from Newark will be run by Travel Wright and must be booked in advance by calling 01636 703813.

It will cost £4 per person from The Wharf at Newark leaving at 3pm; and £2.25 from Church Street, Southwell, leaving at 3.25pm.

The return journey from the racecourse will be at 9.15pm after the music has finished.

To apply for Free Friday tickets visit the racecourse website and enter the promotion code FREE18. Accompanied children under the age of 18 go free.