A lion and a penguin among New Year's Day runners at Cheltenham Racecourse
By James Young | 11th December 2019
A lion and a penguin will be among the runners when Cheltenham Racecourse kicks off 2020 with the ever-popular racing fixture on New Year's Day.
The course have announced that the January 1 fixture will see two characters from the Dreamworks film Madagascar appear alongside the equine heroes throughout the day.
New Year's Day racing has become a staple in the Gloucestershire events calendar with record crowds flocking to Prestbury Park in recent years.
And with a feast of family entertainment on offer, racecourse bosses at the Jockey Club are hoping their offering on the first fay of 2020 is enough to tempt people out from a day in front of the TV.
Alex the Lion and Skipper the Penguin from Madagascar will make appearances throughout a busy day of racing and off-track entertainment.
A family fun zone will run alongside the racing with entertainment to keep children of all ages amused. The first 500 children to visit the zone will receive a walking pet balloon and balloon model.
There will be performances from th entertainer Showtime Shane, face painting, horse hoppers, colouring in and rosette making, fun inflatables and animals visiting from St James City Farm
Throughout the day there will be live music in the Guinness Village and The Hipcats will be playing jazz around the racecourse along with a live performance from Tommy and the Fuse after racing in The Centaur.
The New Year's Day card is one of two fixtures in January with the Festival Trials day taking place on Saturday, January 25 - which acts as the final test for many horses ahead of the Festival in March.
On New Year's Day, gates will open at 10.30am with the first race off at 12.15pm. On Festival Trials day, gates open at 11am with the first race at 12.40pm.
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