Little ones at the flower wall

A Spectacular Afternoon for All on the Roodee at MBNA Family Funday

30,063 racegoers spent a leisurely Sunday afternoon at Chester Racecourse for the annual MBNA Family Funday on Sunday 5 August. Now in its 23rd year, the annual family funday fixture has become a calendar staple for the families and racing enthusiasts from the local community and further afield. The racecourse opened its gates from 9am and a steady flow of traffic continued onto the Roodee well into the afternoon.

Families filled the Open Course to enjoy the free activities and entertainment on offer from the likes of MBNA – title sponsor of the day, Chester FC, Storyhouse, ParentFolk and local band Yubaba.
Seven races wowed the crowds from 1.50pm and the feature race, the listed Caldwell Construction Queensferry Stakes enjoyed a thrilling finish with Paul Hanagan aboard Kimberella, making a spectacular win for the triumphant pair, the second time in as many years. Dr Mawrwan Koukash narrowly missed a milestone 500 UK winners, but became one step closer when Gossip Column crossed the line first in the ESL Group Handicap Stakes.

Dee 106.3 presenters Dave Phillips and Darren McCoy made sure the racing attendance knew all about the activities on offer during the day through live commentary on the Open Course and back to the studio, encouraging youngsters to get involved in the variety on offer. Children enjoyed a giant colouring in wall, face painting, a petting zoo, climbing wall, inflatable zone, giant garden games, pampering sessions, football skills, interactive storytelling and crafts.

MBNA handed out free activity packs to children on arrival and hosted a prize draw in which a lucky few were awarded prizes towards the end of the day, including racing tickets, a voucher for a Chester FC football shirt, tickets to the Wizard of Oz at Storyhouse and a voucher for the White Horse.

Over in the Paddock, GBR’s Jockey Hub hosted a jockey signing session with Paul Hanagan and Eddie Greatrex and racegoers queued to meet the pair and ask them questions before the first race. Live music from Ally (from the Mac Bros) on the Pavilion Lawn and Jay and Jon on Paradise Row kept spirits lifted during the afternoon.

There is a short break at Chester, before racing returns for the final four fixtures in September. Foxy Bingo Ladies Day on Saturday 1 September offers up an afternoon of style and sophistication, with a Best Dressed Competition in addition to seven races. This perfect opportunity to enjoy the end of the summer season promises excitement both on and off the track.

Did you know, in addition to MBNA Family Funday, every single fixture at Chester Racecourse is free to children aged 17 and under. It really is a great day out for families and something you should tick off your list if you’re yet to try. Why not try a visit to the Roodee before a new September term and let the kids celebrate a fantastic summer holiday and parents celebrate the return to routine!

Tickets and badges for available enclosures can be bought online at Tickets can also be bought over the phone on 01244 304 600 or in person at the Chester Racecourse Box Office.

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