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."
24 April 2014War saunters to easy success
Quevega five-timer still on course
Wylie trio go for Gold
Cyclone blows into Punchestown
Rain set to help Punchestown
Rifles aimed at York
Dante considered for Arod
Carpenter faces stamina question
Tonto strives for Sandown scalp
Telescope sights fixed on Sandown
Prize lined up for Greffulhe raid
Celebration time for super Sire
Taghrooda swerves Sandown heat
Concorde checks in for Punchestown
No Sandown run for Oscar
Un De Sceaux to skip Punchestown
Treve among stellar Ascot entries
Charline still in Guineas mix
Big guns remain in Guineas frame
Prince in Punchestown frame
Sparrow set for Punchestown spin
Balder to take novice test
Connell eager for Tank chase run
23 April 2014Telescope tops Richards runners
No rush for Annie target
Cosgrave appeal set for Monday
Hughes set for Sandown return
France adds flair to Guineas
Mullins drops Vautour Champion hint
Exciting Bunker given Dante date
Culloty keen on Gold run for Heeled
Hannon triple-handed in Guineas
Resurge revived for Epsom return
Sandown option for Battalion
Johnston pair clash in Derby Trial
Reckless Abandon returns to track
22 April 2014Rizeena delights in Guineas workout
Carberry targets swift return
Williamson escapes serious injury
Rizeena thrills Brittain on gallops
Door bags National glory
Twiston-Davies hits four-timer
Joe suffers shock defeat
Scudamore hits century mark
Ivan lands Fairyhouse prize
Thousand shows star quality
Cirrus set for Treve clash
Houblon heads Gold contenders
Guineas still on Berkshire radar
21 April 2014Door bags National glory
Wilson passes away
Ivan lands Fairyhouse prize
Stepper set for trip drop
Richards in Telescope sights
Ladies geared for Summer repeat
Hill out of Irish National
No Dundeel at Royal Ascot
Clowance up for the Cup
Garner hit with lengthy ban
Memories in Final flourish
Fitz powers home at Fairyhouse
Toner hits target for Elliott
Joe ready for Cork outing
Lennon looking to call tune
Ground holds key to Tonto show
Lucky escape for Cook
Mind called up for National service