Hereford Racecourse stages its final meeting

image captionMore than 80 horses competed in seven races

Hereford Racecourse is holding its last meeting later after its owners decided earlier this year that the site was not viable.

Clerk of the course Keith Otteson said owners were bringing horses "from far and wide" for the final meeting.

Horse racing has been taking place in Hereford since 1771.

Owners Arena Leisure and Northern Racing said the current 17-year lease made it difficult to invest in the racecourse.

They leased the course from Herefordshire Council.

Mr Otteson said smaller racecourses, like Hereford, have also suffered a fall in income caused by the recession and a drop in the amount raised by the tax on betting shops.

'Sad day'

"The market share of horse racing has diminished over the past 10 years with the rise of internet betting [on other sports]," he said.

Herefordshire Council had hoped a community-led group would run the race course after plans were announced to close it.

But the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has said regardless of any deal to save the course, there will be no fixtures there in 2013.

Mr Otteson called the closure was "a sad day" but said they have managed to minimise the number of jobs losses it has caused.

"We've been able to secure most of the permanent jobs at Hereford in terms of looking after the track in a caretaker capacity and also taking people to Chepstow racecourse to work there," he said.

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