A second British racecourse was left teetering on the edge of extinction as Folkestone hosted its last fixture for the foreseeable future on Tuesday.
There are faint hopes that closing could only be a temporary measure, but in the meantime the county of Kent no longer has a racecourse, following the closure of Wye in 1974. Folkestone has staged meetings since 1898.
Owners Arena Racing Company, who also own Hereford, which closed on Sunday, believe operations could continue at Folkestone if more than 800 homes were built on the site, with the funds being directed to update facilities and move the actual position of the course itself.
A proposal was submitted to Shepway District Council, but it was left out of their core strategy (essentially a blueprint for future development in the area) that will be passed on to the Secretary of State's inspectorate. The council say they are still open to discussions in order for the racecourse to remain open.
ARC's chairman Michael Howard, or Lord Howard of Lympne, was a long-serving local MP. He believes a lifeline would be if the council would include in their core strategy some general wording about future developments which would enable more detailed plans to be proposed.
Howard said: "Arena made clear in 2007 that the racecourse was not viable in its present state and we made a proposal for the redevelopment to the council, but the inspector didn't like it.
"If we can get some words in the core strategy proposal then we could be in business. This means we can start talking to the council again, so we can keep the door open. If the inspector continues to be very negative and refuses to put the language in, then it makes it very difficult. I've had some very happy times at Folkestone and I very much hope it can continue."
ARC's assistant racing director (south) Jim Allen outlined what would happen in the immediate future.
He said: "There will be two full-time groundsmen kept on, and one site manager. It isn't quite the same as Hereford, which is being maintained as a racecourse and would look the same if it re-opened. Folkestone would not stay the same and we will be taking the running rail down and removing the fences."
The final race was the 'Save The Last Race' For Eastwell Manor Handicap Chase and it was won by Marc Goldstein on Quartz Du Montceau, trained in East Sussex by Diana Grissell, who said: "We had our first winner here in 1976. It's a very special place and it's appropriate we've won the last race."
26 May 2016Zonderland flies home in Heron Stakes at Sandown
Time scores top marks in Brigadier Gerard Test at Sandown
Pallasator blows away Dynamite in Henry II victory at Sandown
Global claims Sandown Applause with National success
Tepin facing crucial spin ahead of her planned Royal Ascot trip
Yarmouth given the go-ahead to resume racing following track troubles
Joe Tuite planning autumn campaign for Litigant following a setback
Tullius team set to apply blinkers as he bids for Diomed glory at Epsom
Henry Candy pointing towards Queen Anne with Limato
Northumberland Plate bid on Ballynanty agenda
More injury woe for Sammy Jo Bell after Carlisle fall
Hugo Palmer plays down Frankel colt chances at Haydock
Frankie Dettori reveals 'pressure' ahead of Derby date with Wings Of Desire
Harry Dunlop sets Robin Of Navan 'massive test' in French Derby
Clive Cox ponders next move for My Dream Boat
Gershwin set to miss Epsom and wait for Royal Ascot
Winners keep flowing for Adrian Keatley in wake of Classic success
Curragh winner Van Der Decken has Royal Ascot option
Zonderland bids to build on Guineas sixth at Sandown
Speedy Mehmas on National service at Sandown
High-class entries for Sussex Stakes
Sammy Jo Bell facing further injury setback
Max Dynamite set for power-packed return at Sandown
Roger Charlton hoping Time can pass Brigadier Gerard Test
25 May 2016Karl Burke delighted with Felix Leiter strike at Lingfield
French Derby set to be next challenge for Zarak
Michael Halford on weather watch ahead of Anamba Naas outing
Tryster on course for Prince of Wales's date at Royal Ascot
Queen Anne at Royal Ascot on Ervedya agenda
Paddy Payne hoping sister Michelle will consider riding retirement
Jim Best guilty verdict quashed and rehearing announced by appeal board
Found back in hunt for Coronation Cup at Epsom
Jonathan Portman celebrates Wolverhampton win with Ickymasho
Trials take place at Yarmouth ahead of return to racing action
Andrew Thornton happy to put in the miles as landmark looms
A Shin Hikari dazzles for Japan in Prix d'Ispahan at Chantilly
Godolphin set to add Goodwood winner Skiffle into Oaks mix
Wings Of Desire delights John Gosden in Epsom workout
Kieren Fallon set for Sir Michael Stoute Derby reunion with Across The Stars
24 May 2016Found ruled out of Coronation Cup date
Max Dynamite tops Henry II field at Sandown for Willie Mullins
Time takes Brigadier Gerard Test at Sandown
John O'Shea keeping Royal Ascot options open for Holler
Owen Burrows set sights on Royal Ascot with Muntazah
Michelle Payne ruled out of Royal Ascot following abdominal surgery
Royal Ascot could be next for The Tin Man following impressive Windsor victory
Classic ace Adrian Keatley keeps up the good work with Millefiori at Ayr
Ken Condon sets long-term sights on Champion Stakes targets with Success Days
Delight for Sir Mark Prescott as Time Warp strikes in France
Erica Bing set to go Trophy hunting for Jo Hughes at Beverley
Gifted Master stars in high-class entry for Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock
Massaat pointing to Epsom but French Derby remains an option
Clive Cox keeps faith in Royal Ascot-bound Kodi Bear
Joy of six appeals to Profitable and Clive Cox
Adrian Keatley ponders transatlantic adventure with Jet Setting
23 May 2016Chantilly rain pain for Andre Fabre and New Bay
Initial scans clear Michelle Payne of serious injury
Willie Mullins to make French Champion Hurdle call with Un De Sceaux
Waady and Muthmir in Royal Ascot hat for King's Stand Stakes
Melbourne Cup heroine Michelle Payne in hospital after fall
No Italian Derby joy for Dermot Weld as True Solitaire finishes last
Jet Setting grounds Minding on 'dream' day at Curragh for Adrian Keatley
Fascinating Rock too strong for Found in Curragh clash
Epsom Derby bid unlikely for The Gurkha, confirms Aidan O'Brien
Beacon Rock shines at Curragh for Aidan O'Brien and Ryan Moore
Kevin Ryan switches attention to Royal Ascot with The Grey Gatsby and Ashadihan
'Bring it on' - Galileo Gold's trainer Hugo Palmer relishing Royal Ascot rematch
Irish Guineas winner Awtaad set to stay at a mile and head for Royal Ascot
Options open for Besharah after French Guineas fourth