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."
29 April 2016Champion jockey Silvestre de Sousa not banking on title defence
Michael O'Leary admits to Don Cossack career fears
All options open next year to dazzling Douvan after festival hat-trick
This is where we want to be - Warren Greatrex on top with One Track Mind
Nicky Henderson gets on Punchestown scoresheet with Cup Final
Quantitativeeasing adds up to La Touche glory for Enda Bolger
Galileo Gold all the rage in 2000 Guineas market
Bright New Dawn lights up Punchestown Festival
'Not a bother' on National hero Rule The World after Punchestown
Willie Mullins pursues Punchestown prize with revved-up Vroum Vroum Mag
Gavin Cromwell has Jer's Girl 'in great nick' for Punchestown date
28 April 2016Dynamite Douvan delivers once more at Punchestown
One Track Mind takes Stayers Hurdle honours as Shaneshill crashes out
Ed Dunlop - Derby trial option open to Amazing Red
Elusive Ivy not for catching at Punchestown
Steve Rogers confirmed by Roger Varian for Chester Cup
Noel Meade relief as Road To Riches escapes serious injury
Willie Mullins gives Limini the chance to shine at Punchestown
Ivanovich Gorbatov and Apple's Jade renew rivalry at Punchestown
Air Force Blue spearheads 2000 Guineas field at Newmarket for Aidan O'Brien
Augusta Kate has Lee Westwood and Alan Shearer celebrating Punchestown glory
Cavalier carries big weight to Punchestown triumph
Barry Geraghty salutes John Kiely as Carlingford takes Gold at Punchestown
Blow By Blow makes it a first Grade One success for Katie Walsh at Punchestown
Bellshill digs deep for Daily Mirror Novice honours at Punchestown
All-the-way Gifted Master on top in Pavilion Stakes
Mizzou makes it a Sagaro double at Ascot
Wesley Ward lives the American dream at Ascot
27 April 2016Annie Power 'has done enough' and misses Champion Hurdle date at Punchestown
Carlingford Lough beats big guns to Punchestown Gold
Opera on song to register Punchestown triumph
Back-to-back Punchestown successes for Shamiran
Miss Temple City on course for Cambridge outing at Royal Ascot
Charlie Hills hoping Dutch can make winning connection in Lockinge
Alpha Des Obeaux aiming to claim Stayers prize at Punchestown for Morris
Jer's Girl tops Champion Novice field for Gavin Cromwell
Willie Mullins hoping Douvan can continue to sparkle at Punchestown
Vroum Vroum Mag takes Champion challenge as Annie Power misses Punchestown date
Saval Beg option for Order Of St George return
Jonjo O'Neill mulling Haydock hurdles option for Holywell
Hugo Palmer eager to avoid We Are Ninety comparisons
Blue De Vega team bide their time on Guineas call
Zabana lands Champion Novice prize for Lynch and Russell
Lion roars to pip Jenkins in Land Rover
God's Own delivers Champion triumph for George and Brennan at Punchestown
O'Brien admits Air Force Blue has stamina questions to answer in 2000 Guineas
Aidan O'Brien planning triple assault on 1000 Guineas at Newmarket
Don't Touch It too good as Yorkhill disappoints at Punchestown
Willie Mullins banks on Bellshill to stay strong at Punchestown
Hugo Palmer hands Ascot mission to Gifted Master
Colin Tizzard has Cue Card in the 'form of his life' for Punchestown Gold Cup
26 April 2016Mac ups the Tempo for Punchestown glory
Wish Ye Didnt does it again in Punchestown opener for Carberry and Bolger
New disappointment for Wesley Ward at Bath
Harry Whittington 'absolutely gutted' following death of Aintree winner Arzal
Clive Cox on Newmarket weather watch for Guineas hope Zonderland
Criquette Head-Maarek hoping for more Guineas glory with Midweek
Peter Niven appoints Ryan Moore for Clever Cookie ride at Ascot
Alpha Des Obeaux leads Stayers Hurdle charge at Punchestown
Epsom Derby hope Johannes Vermeer on the sidelines
Richard Hannon on Newmarket 'weather watch' for Guineas hope Illuminate
Deadly Douvan sets sights on Punchestown prize for Willie Mullins
Moon Racer ready to roll at Punchestown for David Pipe
Hugo Palmer to go the distance at Newbury with Home Of The Brave
'Faultless' preparation has Air Force Blue team in confident mood
Jack Hobbs headlines Jockey Club possibles
Mouse Morris happy to run Aintree hero Rule The World at Punchestown
Willie Mullins targets Festival hat-trick with Punchestown-bound Yorkhill
Willie Mullins strives for Punchestown redemption with Vautour
Cue Card declared by Colin Tizzard for Punchestown Gold Cup
Jet Setting added to 1000 Guineas field at Newmarket
John Gosden earmarks Sandown return for Western Hymn