LEONNA MAYOR and Racing League punters lapped up an ‘amazing’ first night of the new £2million six-week series.
Newcastle racecourse shone under the summer sun as top class horses and jockeys battled it out on the track – while David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd hit the DJ decks.
Yes, really, the famed England cricketer and commentator had a (very brief) stint on stage in front of delighted racegoers.
It all made for a bumper debut evening of action ahead of the trip to Doncaster next week.
And especially good news for boss Jeremy Wray, who came up with the idea for the Racing League while watching Manchester United in the Europa League, was that a new audience seemed to love the format right away.
Yes there is the £50,000 up for grabs in each race and a massive £2m to be raced for.
But just as important to these punters was a night out with mates and a dance in front of a DJ.
The Racing League provided all that and more.
Mike Charles, 25, said: “It’s my first time at Newcastle. What drew me in was the music and a bit of racing.
“It’s amazing, everyone is in great spirits and there are so many people in funny costumes.
“It’s a great initiative as well. I don’t know too much about it but I’ve heard there’s been problems in racing with the prize money.
“It seems like this is solving it a bit so I think it’s great and I’m really happy to be at the Racing League.”
Alex Manning, 20, added: “The atmosphere is much better than a normal raceday experience.
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“The DJ is making a really good atmosphere, the racing is quality and there’s a big crowd out – it’s better than a normal Thursday night!
“All round a really good experience.”
Mayor was on presenting duties alongside Bumble and anchors Alex Hammond and Josh Apiafi.
She told SunSport: “The whole place was in such a friendly, buzzy atmosphere, even more so than normal.
“It was also amazing to see jockeys and staff in team colours as one.
“I think this sport has struggled with loneliness at times and mental health issues arising from the pressures of the job, this seems such an inclusive, fun way of showcasing racing and the family we’re all in.”
Team Newmarket Red proved the big winners on the night.
The pre-event favourites sit top of the league on 85 points, with Team talkSPORT hot on their heels with 78.
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