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Scottish Tracks Want More Fixtures
Scotland's racecourses "are calling for an increase in their allocation of fixtures following the release of figures that indicate their attendances are growing at a time when some tracks elsewhere in Britain are finding it hard to fill their grandstands," reported racingpost.co.uk. Average daily attendance at the 5 Scottish venues (Ayr, Hamilton, Kelso, Musselburgh & Perth) has increased by 5% during the initial 6 months of 2007 (compared with the corresponding period in 2006) & "overall racecourse attendance in Scotland has shown sustained growth since the millennium": total attendance in 2006 was 46% higher than in 2000 & the average crowd figure in 2007 is 26% higher than in 2000. This season has already featured: a record crowd on Perth Gold Cup day; a sell-out at Musselburgh for its Ladies' Day; the largest crowd at Hamilton Park for 15 years on Saints & Sinners Day; & the largest crowd at Ayr for 5 years on Scottish Grand National Day. Scottish Racing's commercial manager Jonathan Garratt noted: "The sustained growth in attendance at Scottish tracks demonstrates the latent demand for racing here. Scotland is home to 9% of the British population & nearly 9% of British racecourses, yet we stage only 7% of the fixture list. There is significant demand for more fixtures, especially on racegoer-friendly days, in Scotland. I appreciate that Scotland may be bucking the trend here & it may not be the same in other parts of the country, but the popularity of racing, both as a sport & as a social event, has never been higher in Scotland & I am convinced there is more growth to come."