Large crowd, great weather at Merton

OFF AND RACING: The whole field gets off to a good start in Race 4, which was won by Allan Fitzgerald on Leixlip Lad (second from left). For more pictures of the Merton picnic races turn to page 43.

AS always seems to happen, the weather was warm for the running of Merton’s 150th New Year Cup meeting.

But later in the day light cloud rolled in, making the venue just pleasant.

The stress of sitting under the shade of the trees, glass in hand, watching the races could only be bettered if others had served the wine and victuals to order.

The spectators must have numbered around 2000 and places under the trees were getting into short supply by shortly after lunch.

Six races were scheduled for the day, with good entries for each.

These started at 2pm and ran every 40 minutes thereafter.

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