Preview by David Hucker
COURSE ambassador Dan Skelton is targeting a hat-trick of leading trainer accolades when Warwick’s new season begins this afteroon (Tuesday).
Skelton, based at Shelfield Green, has been the top trainer at the course for the last two years and landed eight winners there in 2016/17. He will start his hat-trick bid at The Racing UK Grand Season Opener, for which the seven-race card gets under way at 1.50pm.
Having headed the national trainers’ table from the very first day of the 2017/18 national jumps season, Skelton will be looking to maintain his blistering start, but will take time out before the first race to officially open Warwick’s new Coronation Club.
“I am delighted to have been leading trainer at our local racecourse for the last two seasons and I’m eager to continue that success over the coming season,” said Skelton.
“We have a lovely bunch of horses to look forward to following on from what has been a very successful summer period, and I can’t wait to really get going with them.
“I’m honoured to be opening a great new facility in The Coronation Club at Warwick and look forward to meeting its members during the winter.”
The Coronation Club has been created from space that was formerly a tote betting area and will house the course’s new premium membership, which is limited to 35 people. In addition to the new lounge, club benefits include stable tours, access to the owners and trainers viewing steps and half-price guests on selected race days.
Warwick will host one extra fixture this year, with 18 meetings over the course of the season, which will run from September to May. A good crowd is expected for what will be the first post-summer jump racing fixture for the South-West Jockey Club group of racecourses.
Look ahead to today’s opener, general manager Andre Klein said: “Warwick Racecourse has made huge strides in recent years, we’ve established the course as one of the best performing small jumps tracks in the country and that is reflected in the extra fixture we have been awarded this season.
“We are committed to continuing to improve the race day experience for everyone visiting Warwick Racecourse. The launch of the new Coronation Club is the next stage of our vision and we thank Dan Skelton for agreeing to cut the tape.
“Last season we attracted a lot of people to become repeat visitors to the racecourse and we have introduced new membership packages this year to make it even easier for people to enjoy the season.”
One meeting that will be eagerly anticipated is Classic Chase Day in January, when last year’s winner One For Arthur will be looking for a repeat success on his way to Aintree and a bid for back-to-back victories in the Randox Health Grand National..
In addition to the Coronation Club, there is Track Specialist membership which costs £140 and includes entry to all 18 race meetings for 2017/18 – representing a £210 saving on paying at the gate. For membership and advanced tickets, which start from £12.50, go to www.warwickracecourse.co.uk.