ANDRE Klein is General Manager at Warwick Racecourse. In his latest column with the Observer, he looks ahead to the racecourse’s premier racing fixture.
The sheer scale of New Year’s Eve at Warwick sent shockwaves through the racing industry.
A sell-out attendance just shy of 8,000 people certainly pricked up a few ears.
We made a decision to open up the centre of the track to create a party enclosure and this enabled us to reduce the numbers on the grandstand side while markedly increasing the number of bars and food outlets.
Whilst there were still queues, the feedback in general was that it was a massive improvement on last year.
We’ll always strive to improve things, but now have a sound platform to start from. Fine-tuning things is much more relaxing than re-inventing the wheel.
Now we move swiftly on to our biggest day from a racing and sport perspective.
On Saturday, we expect to welcome around 4,000 people to the track for the McCoy Contractor’s Classic Chase Raceday – with the feature race being over a distance of three miles and five furlongs.
It’s the racing that truly brings the majority of them here, not the promise of party!
There is no wonder that trainers use it as a stepping stone to the Randox Health Grand National.
Entries closed on Monday and there is representation from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales to give it a real interesting flavour.
Two previous winners expected to line up are Milansbar and Impulsive Star. Sadly there is no One for Arthur – who won the big race at Aintree after winning the Classic Chase in 2018.
His stable could well be represented by Big River though, who could be a good chance at decent odds.
The rest of the programme guarantees some fantastic sport – the Ballymore Leamington Hurdle always throws up quality winners, and of the 12 entered on Saturday, eight have won their last race.
That’s an indication of the depth in this great race, which always works as a pointer for the Cheltenham Festival.
Aside from the racing, the racecourse is staging a fashion parade of classic racing attire through the last century, and we will also have the ITV Racing team joining us live throughout the day.
It’s a classic day to go racing in Warwickshire.