Delight as £45 million Cheltenham development completed

13th November 2015

Simon Bazalgette, Group Chief Executive of The Jockey Club, which has owned and run Cheltenham Racecourse since 1964, today expressed delight at the completion of the £45 million development at the Home of Jump Racing and praised the team who have worked tirelessly to deliver what is the Group’s largest ever single investment project, within budget and ahead of The Festival 2016.
 
At midday today, ahead of The Open meeting at Cheltenham, Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal will officially open the new stand named in her honour, which is the centrepiece of the new development. The Princess Royal Stand has a capacity of circa 7,000 people and includes public bars, the Big Buck’s Champagne Bar, Annual Members facilities, Owners & Trainers facilities, private boxes, the exclusive Cheltenham Club and the Royal Box. The front of the stand has public viewing steppings for circa 3,000 spectators and on the lower ground floor 156 toilets.
 
The development involved 14 different phases, including a crescent walkway that creates more of an amphitheatre around the parade ring and places the horse even more at the heart of the action, allowing thousands more people to cheer champions back into the winners enclosure; a bridge over the horsewalk to aid movement for spectators; a refurbished Weighing Room; and various outdoor covered food and beverage areas, such as Quevega’s and the See You Then Terrace.
 
Under the responsibility of Ian Renton, Cheltenham and South West Regional Director for Jockey Club Racecourses, the development at the racecourse has taken 19 months and half a million man hours to complete, with no interruption to the race programme in the process. The project was designed with Roberts Limbrick Architects and lead delivery partner was Kier Construction.
 
In less than 35 years, £125 million has now been spent on facilities for customers and participants at Cheltenham, from The Princess Royal Stand to the Best Mate Enclosure and The Centaur Building to the Tattersalls Sales Ring.
 
The Jockey Club launched the first retail bond in British sport – and still the second-biggest unlisted retail bond ever – to raise nearly £25 million towards its £45 million investment for the development.
 
Simon Bazalgette said:
 
“This is an important day for the future of the Home of Jump Racing and something I hope racing fans and participants alike will enjoy for many years to come.
 
“I cannot praise highly enough our team at Cheltenham under the leadership of Ian Renton, our Group Property experts and the work of all the contractors, primarily Kier Construction, who have delivered the vision created with the help of Roberts Limbrick Architects. The horse and the customer have been at the heart of this project from the outset and it was vital to take a step into the next generation while maintaining the unique feel and atmosphere that Cheltenham offers every time we walk through its doors.
 
“It has been a huge operational challenge for the team to deliver what feedback says has been a very good customer experience while racing around the development – headed up by Regional Head of Operations David Mackinnon. They have done a tremendous job and we must also thank all those who came racing with us these past 19 months for their patience and good heart while the team developed this next chapter for the racecourse and the world-class customer experience we want to offer all, to match the calibre of the great horses competing.
 
“It was really important not to lose any racedays because Cheltenham is so important in the Jump Racing programme and as every penny of profit we make we put back into the sport we really didn’t want that reinvestment to drop while work was underway. Because The Jockey Club is governed by Royal Charter we have been able to reinvest £250 million into facilities and contribute £150 million to prize money in the last 10 years alone to help support the long-term health of Britain’s second-biggest spectator sport. This step into the future at Cheltenham is an important part of that.”