THE long-term future of horseracing in Marks Tey is in doubt.

Organisers have warned unless the venue, which has hosted point-to-point racing for more than 60 years, can attract more spectators, it will close.

Managers need to raise £15,000 a year to keep the course open.

Stephen March, the chairman, said: “Faced with the fact we did not have enough money to finance the course through the 2014 season, we decided to establish the Marks Tey Fighting Fund.

“Our target was to raise £10,000. To date we are on target and I would like to thank every individual who has made a donation – your support has been crucial.”

In previous years, the Easter Monday programme funded activities for the year.

However, in 2011 conditions meant the number of races were halved because the ground was too hard.

The money-spinning fixture was cancelled in 2012 to prevent a repeat, and they raced camels instead.

Last year’s Easter Monday was scrapped because the ground would have been too firm, and there will not be an Easter Monday race this year.

Mr March said: “We realised, to have a chance of remaining viable we needed a second fixture.”

It is hoped the two meetings, on February 23 and March 16, which include more racing options for owners and trainers, will help to save the course.

Mr March said: “We need to see the crowds return to the course to allow us to move one meeting back to Easter Monday in 2015.

“This should ensure the financial viability of racing at Marks Tey.”

The course is off the London-bound carriageway of the A12, via the Easthorpe turn-off.

Admission will cost £10 per head, with under-17s allowed in for free.

Point-to-point racing sees amateur riders jumping over fences, usually on a three-mile course over farmland.

There must be at least 18 fences and two ditches with horses normally travelling around a circuit twice.