SUPERB PRIZES IN CHELTENHAM'S FREQUENT RUNNER CHAMPIONSHIP
Cheltenham is always in the vanguard with innovations that make the racing experience as enjoyable as possible for everyone involved, and this season heralds a number of new and enhanced initiatives to better reward stable staff.
The 2006/2007 season sees the home of Jump racing become the first racecourse in Britain to enter into a sponsorship agreement that provides lads and lasses with complimentary meals, tea and coffee.
The welcome new partnership between the racecourse and local civil engineering firm Grimshaw Kinnear involves every raceday, with the exception of the four days of The Festival in March, for which another sponsor is currently being sought.
While many racecourses provide stable staff with free tea and coffee, Cheltenham’s ground-breaking agreement with Grimshaw Kinnear covers full menus that include cooked meals, salads and vegetarian options.
Cheltenham's commitment to stable staff is further affirmed with the news that their share of record prize money this season equates to £300,000.
Best Turned Out Awards are a much-appreciated bonus for the dedicated staff who look after the horses, and Cheltenham’s race sponsors provide prizes worth almost £10,000 spread across the season. Each winner is also presented with a voucher to spend at Hi Ho Silver, one of the course's regular trade stands.
Cheltenham is again running the Stable Staff League, with the yard accumulating the most Best Turned Out Awards throughout the season being rewarded with 10 pairs of dinner, bed and breakfast vouchers for Wyck Hill House Hotel near Stow-on-the-Wold.
Champion jump trainer Paul Nicholls emerged victorious in Cheltenham's Frequent Runner Championship last season, winning a fine Mark Stoddart bronze sculptured coffee table.
The championship rewards trainers whose horses run most often at Cheltenham and works on the basis of a star rating, which applies to runners in 53 Cheltenham races between October 24 and January 27.
Trainers are awarded full points (star rating) for their first runner and half points for additional runners in a given race, with the latest scores available on www.cheltenham.co.uk
The victorious trainer this season wins a free 12-month lease on a superb Theault Horsebox, while the six runner-ups receive great prizes including a stunning bronze animal sculptured coffee table crafted by Mark Stoddart, a hand-crafted rocking horse courtesy of Stevenson Brothers, bounteous supplies of Blue Chip Horse Feed and an all expenses table for 10 at the racecourse during The Festival.
Simon Claisse, Cheltenham’s Director of Racing and Clerk of the Course, commented: “We are delighted to be able to provide even more benefits for stable staff at Cheltenham this season, with the free food, tea and coffee initiative backed by Gimshaw Kinnear being a very welcome addition.
“Stable staff have a key role in racing and deserve to be looked after as well as possible by racecourses.”
The Cheltenham season opens with a two-day meeting on Tuesday, October 24 and Wednesday, October 25. The first day celebrates the achievements of record-breaking trainer Martin Pipe, who retired on the final day of last season. There are 16 racedays at Cheltenham this season, with the last one on the evening of Wednesday, May 2.