Gold Standard Award

The pinnacle of racehorse ownership is going racing with a runner. The raceday experience should be an enjoyable one, and many of Britain's 60 racecourses offer owners with a runner an unforgettable day.

The ROA Gold Standard has celebrated racecourse performance since 2006, rewarding and recognising those tracks that provide an excellent experience to owners with a runner on the day. 

The Gold Standard has continued to evolve and develop since its inception, and for 2019 and beyond it will also run in parallel to the ROA Quality Mark, a mark which awards Accreditation status to racecourses who achieve a minimum standard of performance.  We are delighted to announce that all 60 racecourses assessed achieved Accreditation.

The ROA Quality Mark is assessed by AA Hospitality Services, who provide an independent and objective assessment of the raceday experience across all 60 racecourses (Newmarket Rowley Mile and July courses are assessed separately).  The assessment measures 50 aspects of the raceday, from pre-arrival, through all aspects of the raceday experience, to the departure and post-raceday contact.

The Gold Standard Award focuses on the more subjective aspects of the raceday experience; those elements that “surprise and delight” and are truly memorable.  It also looks at how all ownership types and level of involvement are treated - from the syndicate member to the sole owner - as well as considering prize-money, equine welfare and how all those who may have special requirements are able to access and enjoy the day.

The 2019 Gold Standard Award winners are:

Large Racecourses

  • Aintree
  • Ascot
  • Ayr
  • Cheltenham
  • Chester
  • Haydock Park
  • Newmarket July
  • Newmarket Rowley Mile
  • Sandown Park
  • York
  • Most improved: Newmarket Rowley Mile

Overall winner: Chester and York

Small Racecourses

  • Bangor-on-Dee
  • Carlisle
  • Fakenham
  • Hamilton Park
  • Market Rasen
  • Musselburgh
  • Newton Abbot
  • Nottingham
  • Perth
  • Thirsk
  • Wetherby
  • Most improved: Thirsk

Overall winner: Musselburgh

ROA Chief Executive and Chairman of the ROA Raceday Committee, Charlie Liverton, said: “We offer our congratulations to those courses receiving the Gold Standard Award this year.  They each proved that whilst capital expenditure can reap rewards, it is often those that think outside the box that get the highest accolades.  This could be as simple as a glass of champagne upon arrival, a personalised owners’ badge or a unique and coveted winner’s memento.  For those courses not on the list this year, we urge them to take on board the feedback from the AA and ROA Raceday Committee, to look at what the Gold Standard winners are undertaking, and above all to think objectively about their experience if they were the owner.

Going forward, both the Gold Standard Award and Racecourse Quality Mark initiatives will continue to develop in line with owners’ changing expectations, and we will also look outside racing to further understand what excellence looks like.   

The development of the parallel schemes will additionally form a key element of the ROA-led Industry Ownership Strategy undertaken to date, which has seen a vital focus on the delivery of the raceday experience to owners.  With 44% of lapsed racehorse owners citing their experience on a racecourse as a key factor in giving up their involvement, this presents a compelling opportunity for change.”

The winners of the Most Improved and Racecourse of the Year Awards in both categories will be announced at the ROA Horseracing Awards dinner on Thursday December 12, 2019 in London.


New assessments 

From 1st January the hunt will be on to find the 2020 Gold Standard Award winners. Once again the ROA Raceday Committee will be visiting every racecourse before the end of September, and assessing as to its suitability as a candidate for the 2020 Gold Standard Award, before the final decisions are made in October.

Gold Standard Criteria for 2020


Within the Owners Guide to Racecourses, each course has an item called Track Talk, which lists all the latest racecourse developments affecting racehorse owners.

Have you recently had a runner? Click here to submit your racecourse feedback >>