Lingfield Park racecourse offers tour of private areas
A HORSE whisperer and a behind-the-scenes peep at the world of horse racing were on offer at Lingfield Park during a special event to coincide with the Grand National.
Visitors to the racecourse on Saturday were allowed to walk through the weighing rooms, which are usually closed to the public.
As well as racing, there was plenty of entertainment on offer, including a special show put on by renowned horse whisperer Gary Witheford.
He drew the biggest crowds away from the racing, calling on members of the public to have a go at it themselves.
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Sarah Borgesdesousa, director of sales at the racecourse's Marriott Hotel, was fascinated.
She said: "It was amazing what he did, the way he communicated with the horse.
"It was quite scary but it was great to see how the horse responded because it was quite wild in the beginning."
Those with an interest in the finer points of horse racing were able to see a unique piece of art work, with experts painting the anatomy of a race horse on to a real horse, demonstrating how the animals are able to reach their amazing speeds during the races.
The entertainment also included music, horse displays, and a Wii competition.
Mark Hayworth, 39, an assistant bookmaker from Reigate, said: "There's lots to do for families with kids and it's a good day out for people.
"They've been getting the crowds in today and I think people have really enjoyed it."
After the tour of the facilities, visitors were invited to try their hand at racing on a mechanical horse, getting an insight into the physical demands that jockeys go through in a race.
And for betting novices there were a number of displays on tips of what to look for when picking a winning horse.
They were then able to try their hand at their new skills, with races going on during the day before attention moved to the big televised race of the day – the Grand National.
Lingfield Park's event was in aid of the British Horseracing Education and Standards Trust, a charity which aims to develop and improve all aspects of racing.
Its spokeswoman Judith Allen said: "We think it's been great, there are lots of family activities.
"It's been good because there's more for the kids to do and they really work behind the scenes, and they get to see things they wouldn't see otherwise."