Warwick Racecourse’s ambition to be regarded as one of the best small jumps courses in the country is gathering momentum.
Attendances are significantly on the up, links with the local community are strengthening, and improvements on and off the track have been hitting the right notes with the racing fraternity.
Warwick is also undergoing a programme of works to further improve its track and facilities ahead of the season’s opener on September 20.
The works include the continued integration of the old flat track with the existing National Hunt course.
A section of track, approximately 500m in length, is being drained and levelled to allow more flexibility in the placing of rail and to improve the racing surface.
In addition, a rolling programme of fence refurbishment has begun, with the final three fences in the back straight being targeted.
The fences are being completely rebuilt and will have the ability to be extended 12ft when the outer hurdle track is in use, giving the availability of more running lines on the Steeplechase track.
General Manager Andre Klein, who has been in post since November 2015 after swapping the tracks of New Zealand to return to his Warwickshire roots, is delighted with the shape Warwick is in.
“We’re in a really strong position heading into the new season,” said Andre.
“We have just enjoyed a really good season which was topped off by the success of the Warwick May Racing Carnival which attracted really good attendances, hospitality numbers and runners - despite some pretty average weather.”
The inaugural carnival - the brainchild of Andre and his team – linked together three spring fixtures for the first time and featured 220 runners – up from 178 in 2015 – along with an 18 per cent increase in attendance, with hospitality numbers up by as much as 35 per cent.
The success of the carnival has given Warwick a perfect springboard to prepare for the new season.
Andre added: “The improvements we’ve made on the track have been hitting the right notes with the trainers and jockeys.
“The fact that the number of runners is on the up is testament to the work the team is doing to build the profile of Warwick, and we’re looking to build on this momentum heading into the new season.
“Off the track, our New Year’s Eve, Chase Day (January) and Kingmaker (February) racedays consistently attract really healthy crowds and the 10,000 we had through the gates during the first carnival was also extremely encouraging.
“We’re pushing ourselves to increase attendances further in the new season and with the strong relationships we’re building locally and across the racing fraternity the team is confident Warwick is in fantastic shape to increase our profile even further.”
Warwick’s fixture list for the remainder of 2016 includes six racedays on September 20, 29, November 4 and 16, December 8 and 31.