HORSE RACING: ANDRE Klein is General Manager at Warwick Racecourse. In his latest column with the Observer he looks ahead to racing returning in September.
“When we hung our boots up and locked the weighing room door at the end of May, following the final race meeting of the 2016/17 racing season, everyone in the office was looking forward to a well-earned three month break.
“But now, with just a month to go until we are off and racing again, we are chomping at the bit to see horses back on the lovely green grass of St Mary’s.
“Contrary to popular belief, there has been no downtime for us. The “allegedly” warmer months of the year have seen us pretty busy. The team has enjoyed a few weeks away on genuine holidays under genuine sunshine, but the rest of time has been dedicated to co-ordinating building projects, running interesting non-racing focused events, like the popular beer and cider festival, and planning and more planning.
“My main personal challenge has been getting all the Is and Ts lined up for the imminent construction of a new public entrance. This has been an eye opener for me. Not just cracking ahead and bowling the old buildings over and putting up something nice and shiny. It’s been an education in patience as we have worked through the lengthy processes of consultation and planning before any sort of building could take place.
“As it sits right now, subject to the discovery of anything of archeological importance, I am confident that by our huge New Year’s Eve meeting, we will have an impressive, new welcoming area to our racecourse.
“What will be ready by the Racing UK Grand Season Opener on Tuesday, September 26 will be the Coronation Club. This building development has been created from space that’s historic use was a tote betting area.
“The Coronation Club will house our new premium members. Anyone know why it’s called the Coronation Club? Coronation was foaled in the year of Queen Victoria’s coronation and went on to win the 1841 Epsom Derby. We are celebrating him here because two of his six victories, from his seven career starts, came at our track.
“On the subject of memberships, we have restructured the whole offering for the new season. A new option that will prove popular is called the Track Specialist, which provides a huge discount for those who simply like to go racing.
“This is ideal for racegoers who want a no-frills membership experience providing entry to every fixture of the season. It costs £140, which represents a massive saving of £210 had you intended to pay at the turnstile at each of our 18 meetings.
“Please note, as I just referenced, we have 18 meetings this year, up one from last season and a result of that we are really looking forward to seeing our May Racing Carnival extended to four days from three.
“The new fixture comes at the tail end of the season on Wednesday, May 30 and will be run as an evening meeting.
“I look forward to welcoming you to Warwick Races in a month’s time. I am sure we will have another great season with some terrific racing.”