PERTH RACECOURSE has opened for the 2017 season with a three-day racing extravaganza.

Punters from across Scotland came to Perth Festival, which saw a record number of runners and 250 bottles of champagne consumed.

Ticket sales were up on previous years, thanks in part to the appearance of One For Arthur, who won the Grand National.

The horse was joined by jockey Derek Fox and trainer Lucinda Russell to do a lap of honour in the parade ring for the home crowd.

Hazel Peplinksi, chief executive, credited the racecourse's groundstaff for the record numbers.

She said: “With the extremely dry spell of weather coupled with below average temperatures in April we have been severely tested to produce an acceptable racing surface over the three days of the festival.

“However, the groundstaff have worked tirelessly in recent weeks with the new irrigation system and applied the equivalent of two inches of rain artificially.

“It is to their enormous credit that we have just had one of the most successful festivals in recent years with a record number of horses racing over the three days.

“£230,000 in total prize-money over the festival together with good ground on all three days generated 197 runners, with an average field size of 9.3.

“This represents a fantastic start to our season and if we can maintain this level of support I would be delighted.

“There were plenty of owners and trainers here for the first time ever and told me how much they enjoyed the experience or racing at Perth.”

Next up will be a double fixture with the On-Course Perth Bookmakers Evening next Wednesday, May 17, and the Ladies Day on Thursday, May 18.

The event on Wednesday is specially designed to encourage first-time race goers with a heavily discounted ticket price of £5. There will be all the usual fun with fine craft beers, local produce and a six competitive races.

The Ladies Day will see jump racing, hospitality and live entertainment with a £2,000 prize for best dressed lady, who will be crowned on stage by celebrity stylist Gok Wan.