THOUSANDS of pounds have been injected into Salisbury Racecourse ahead of its summer season which launches with its traditional May bank holiday meet on Sunday.

The course, in Netherhampton, Salisbury is welcoming hundreds of avid race-goers to its Betfred Family Race Day, the first of 16 race feasts, with some including live music from tribute bands.

Well-respected trainer Richard Hannon, who raced 23 winners from 104 races last year, has handed over his training licence to son Richard.

Hannon junior, from the powerful racing stables near Marlborough, is set for the scene with number one jockey and brother-in-law Richard Hughes, who is a force to be reckoned with.

While the course refurbishments were in place over the winter months, the course was informed the CGA Dick Poole Fillies’ Stakes in September would be upgraded from Listed to Group 3 status. This was one of only two pattern race upgrades to be approved in the whole country for 2014. It means Salisbury Racecourse now has two prestigious Group 3 races within its programme, with the £75,000 Sovereign Stakes staged on Thursday, August 14 as the season’s feature race.

“There has been well over £400,000 spent on improvements since we last raced in October, including new toilets and refurbishing the foyer, stairs and landing of the main Bibury Suite,” said Jeremy Martin, clerk of the course and executive director.

“There is also a new dedicated taxi rank in a completely new location which will help ease congestion outside the main building and on the racecourse driveway. Apart from the final preparations, we are just about ready to go. We sadly do it all without former operations manager and company secretary Lin White, who died suddenly in early December.”

Sunday’s first race out of seven is at 1.45pm.

Ticket prices vary from; £22 (Bibury enclosure), £14 (grandstand & paddock enclosure) and £7 (course enclosure). Accompanied children aged 16 and under go free. Full details of race meetings can be viewed at or by calling 01722 326461.