LADIES Day was everything we hoped it would be when it came to announcing that horse racing was back in Worcester for 2024.

We had huge sell-out crowds for our first meeting of the season with some fantastic outfits on show, some top-class racing and a real carnival atmosphere which I’m told extended all the way into the city centre.

The new weighing room building had the seal of approval from everyone who used it, including a big thumbs-up from leading jockey Sean Bowen who was the first one into the warm-up room.

Like the true professional he is, Sean was getting a few miles done on the exercise bike before he got in the saddle and he was very complimentary about the facilities.

There will now be an official opening ceremony of the weighing room later this summer — probably at one of our July meetings — with maybe a special guest or two.

I was very proud of the way the staff had worked to overcome the challenges of the weather in the build-up to our return and hopefully many people who came along had a favourable impression of a day at the races and are keen to come again.

There were times when I thought we might not be able to get everything ready in time and it really went to the wire with the final OK coming through from the British Horseracing Authority at 5.15pm on the Friday night!

But thankfully we made it.

Yes, we had one or two problems — as there always are with thousands of people trying to enter the course, especially when they have to cross the track twice on their way in.

That’s a challenge and there were a few pinch points in terms of queues forming.

We will look at those issues and see what we can learn for next time.

But overall it was a great day of celebration for the fact that one of Worcester’s sporting and social institutions is up and running again for another year which is wonderful.

Like many businesses, we have certain events that keep us going because of their popularity and Ladies Day is a big one.

Let’s just say, with full restaurants and bars, it is worth several times as much to us commercially as a regular race day.

We had a summer evening race meeting on Thursday of this week and two more meetings this month — June 19 and June 26, both afternoon events.

Then we can turn our attention to a busy July with four meetings including the feature event, the Country Racenight on July 18.

That one’s a celebration of country music and will include one of the best tribute acts around — the Luke Combs Experience.

There is a warmth and real spirit of generosity around country music which lends itself to an enjoyable summer evening so we are all looking forward to that one.

For me, there is nothing like the atmosphere down near the racetrack on a warm evening, when it stays light until late, and you have that easy, relaxed vibe around the parade ring with beautifully turned-out horses.

It’s what summers were made for.

Our columnist Michael Thomas is the general manager at Worcester Racecourse.