Updates to Newmarket's 'July Course' Complete
Updated: Tuesday, June 12, 2007 11:53 AM
Posted: Monday, June 11, 2007 12:11 PM
Lisa Hancock, managing director of Newmarket Racecourses in England, unveiled a £10-million redevelopment of the historic July Course on June 11, which involved extending the area for racegoers at the back of stands and improving facilities without hopefully changing the unique ambience.
Newmarket’s July Course, often likened to Saratoga in terms of atmosphere and look, is famed for racing during the summer, staging 17 days of action on turf with the highlight being the three-day Ritz Club July Festival, which hosts the Darley July Cup (ENG-I), Europe’s most valuable six-furlong sprint.
Hancock said, "It is some 70 years since the July Course benefited from a serious investment - the current stands were built between 1931 and 1933 - so what has been undertaken here over the last nine months is really very noteworthy indeed in the recent history of Newmarket’s much loved summer racecourse.
"We believe that this is the biggest redevelopment on a British racecourse not to involve the grandstands themselves and I would certainly be confident that it is the racecourse development which is the most sympathetic to the environment around it."
Bars, restaurants, toilets, aerial walkways and new entrances have been built, largely fronted with cedarwood, to replace outdated ancillary buildings. An extra 4,000 square metres of space will mean better crowd circulation and capacity has been raised from 19,000 to 21,500. Also, 31 mature beech trees have been planted to augment the existing ones.
Unusually for a British racecourse redevelopment, the new facilities are aimed at racing fans rather than the corporate hospitality market.
Hancock added: "The whole redevelopment has been geared around improving facilities for the ordinary racegoer and none of the investment has been spent on the corporate market."
The new facilities will be thoroughly tested on the evening of Friday, June 22 when there is racing followed by a performance from Australian rock band INXS.
Hancock, who recently announced she was leaving her job in October to spend more time with her young family, is hoping the changes are well received, marking a successful end to her seven years in charge of the two racecourses at Newmarket.
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