Andre Klein is General Manager at Warwick Racecourse. In the first of his new column with the Observer, he looks ahead to the new season which gets underway next week.
The local Warwick racing season gets underway on Tuesday, September 20 with the Season’s Opener Raceday. It is the first of 17 fixtures for 2016/17.
If pre-sales are anything to go by (we could have sold all of our hospitality boxes three times over) we should have a fantastic turn out.
It seems like an eternity since I last saw a thoroughbred on the course, back on the final day of our May Carnival. It seems like a distant memory!
Personally, I’m not used to this length of break between fixtures. In New Zealand we almost staged a meeting every week throughout the entire year. A break of ten days was a luxury. However, three months of no action has its advantages and it’s not been a time of idleness.
Indeed the summer has been incredibly hectic from a work perspective. We have staged several public events at Warwick. The Great Midland Ukefest, the Court Leet Beer and Cider Festival, the Thai Festival and UK Cycling’s “Stratford Tempest” drew large numbers through our gates.
We have overseen major projects on the racing surface with levelling, drainage and fence improvements mostly centered at the Sainsbury’s end of the course. These will go a long way to enhancing our aspirations to be the best small jumps course in England.
Many of the bars and public areas have undergone a much needed refresh. The changes in Castle Bar in particular will be of interest to racing fans who love the history of the turf.
We have been gifted some rare memorabilia relating to the Derby winner of 1945, Dante. This has come to us courtesy of the Peacock family from Middleham, whose ancestors include the legendary trainer, Matthew Peacock.
The display is a work in progress but much of what we have been presented with will be on permanent display in Castle Bar.
With one eye on the future, we have spent a lot of time working on the plans for the redevelopment of the main entrance to the racecourse and also the creation of a new bar from underutilised space in the old tote building. Work will commence on both these major undertakings later this year.
We look forward to seeing you, and some horses at the track, finally. I can’t wait much longer.