16th Dec, 2018

Klein's Warwick Racecourse column

Andre Klein is General Manager at Warwick Racecourse. In his latest column he looks ahead to this weekend’s raceday and gives his tips for the Cheltenham Festival.

Sunday’s Air Ambulance Countryside meeting at Warwick is sure to bring a big crowd, especially with the Cheltenham Festival just around the corner and all eyes on horse racing next week.

Attendances continue to rise at our venue and even our smallest fixtures have a great buzz to them, with queues at the bar, people shoulder to shoulder on the tiered steps of the grandstand and bookmakers reporting brisk business.

Last Friday’s Budbrooke Chase Day saw attendance up 65 per cent on the previous year, about an extra 700 people attending in total – adding to good numbers seen on both Kingmaker Day and Classic Chase Day.

Despite losing our Christmas fixture we enticed a shade over 40,000 people to our venue in 2017, the largest cumulative number since the early 1990s when Warwick had 25 meetings and a summer fixture list.

Cheltenham is hoping to average around 65,000 across their four day Festival, one day we’ll match them!

The Countryside Day is a huge fund raiser for the Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance.

Over the period of their three year involvement with our track, they have raised over £50,000 through activities directly related to our race days. That’s a great achievement.

You should consider bringing your younger family members along on Sunday, or indeed your mother – it is Mother’s Day don’t forget!

As well as six races we have a lot of entertainment planned on the grandstand side of the running rail that will keep the non-racing folk entertained including live music, pony rides, falconry displays and the very popular Shire horses from Hook Norton.

For most though, a day at the races is about backing a winner and if you are looking for pointers for Cheltenham, we are hosting a Preview night at the racecourse this Thursday.

Alex Steedman from Racing UK will be heading the panel that includes Dan and Harry Skelton, Olly Murphy and Gary Wiltshire. Tickets are just £15 and that includes a preview pack from sponsors 188BET and a big bowl of curry!

As for my tips. Well, I feel bang in form after giving out 5-1 shot Cobra De Mai last week to listeners on BBC Radio Coventry and Warwickshire.

I’ll just say that whilst everyone is talking Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott, I will be focusing on Nicky Henderson.

He has the favourite for the Gold Cup in Might Bite, the Champion Hurdle with Buveur D’Air, the Triumph Hurdle in Apple’s Shakira and the Champion Chase with Altior which is amazing enough, but some of his darker horses appeal to me across The Festival.

Verdana Blue in the OLBG Mares Hurdles at 16-1, Brain Power in the Racing Post Arkle at 14-1 and Santini in the Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle at 8-1.

Together the trio look like a nice treble. Combined odds of just under 1800-1. Got to be worth a pound each-way hasn’t it?

Gates open at 12.20pm and the first race is 2.20pm on Sunday, March 11.

To find out more information or to purchase tickets visit www.warwickracecourse.co.uk.

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