The largest racecourse group in Britain is to change its name. From 2 January 2007, Racecourse Holdings Trust, which includes Aintree, Cheltenham, Epsom Downs and Newmarket amongst its 13 courses, will operate under the title of Jockey Club Racecourses.
Due to its ownership by The Jockey Club, all profits generated by the group are invested in the sport. This makes Jockey Club Racecourses unique as it is the only racecourse owning group which is committed to directing its profits towards enhancing racecourse facilities and prize money. During 2007 alone, the group will complete capital projects to the value of over £50m and stage racing worth £33m in prize money.
Andrew Coppel, Chief Executive, said: "The change of name to Jockey Club Racecourses presents the opportunity to endorse our tracks with a racing brand that will be recognised worldwide. Without compromising the individuality of the tracks, the name change clarifies the relationship between the parent company and its racecourses and provides a more accurate reflection of the role and influence of the group."
"As a result of The Jockey Club's ownership and because no dividends are paid, we are able to develop strategies designed for the long term. This applies not only to our commitment to protecting and promoting the sport's iconic events such as the Cheltenham Festival, Grand National and the Derby, but also our policy of acquiring greater control of our picture and media rights."
The Senior Steward of The Jockey Club, Julian Richmond-Watson, added: "While the Jockey Club was responsible for regulating the sport, it made sense that its commercial activities were kept at arm's length. Following the transfer of regulation to the Horse-racing Regulatory Authority, there is no longer a need to maintain that separation. We intend to further develop the commercial potential of our racecourses whilst at the same time promoting the key principles and values of The Jockey Club."
Established in 1964 following the purchase of Cheltenham, Racecourse Holdings Trust was formed with the objective of securing the future of racecourses for horseracing. The group is a champion of National Hunt racing and remains committed to promoting quality and diversity in British racing. Profits generated by major courses such as Cheltenham and Aintree are re-invested across the group and as such have enabled smaller courses to develop and grow in a way that would not have been possible had they remained independent.
In addition to staging four of the five Classics in the British Flat racing calendar and 80% of Grade 1 Jump races, Jockey Club Racecourses is the majority shareholder in Racing UK and played a pivotal role in the signing of the new three year joint venture with Channel Four which ensures continued coverage of racing on terrestrial television. The group is also a member of the consortium currently in negotiations with Government over the sale of the Tote.
In conclusion, Andrew Coppel added: "Our overall objective is to be the best racecourse operator in the world in terms of profitability and the promotion of the best quality Flat, Jump and AWT racing experience, and to establish our racecourses as venues of choice in the UK conference and events market."