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.

Pictured right: The Owners' Pavilion at Chester is one of the premier raceday dining experiences amongst Britain's racecourses.

The ROA Gold Standard Award for racecourses was established in 2006 to recognise excellence in the owners’ raceday experience, and it has been assisting in driving up standards at racecourses across the country ever since.In order for the Gold Standard to remain a positive force for change it has had to evolve, and so since 2015 the number of Gold Standard Awards given annually has been capped at a maximum of 16 courses. These have been divided into Large and Small racecourses, with a maximum of 6 in the large and 10 in the small categories being awarded the accolade. In addition one course in each category is highlighted as being most improved in the preceeding 12 months – hopefully they will make the Gold Standard Award shortlist soon.

The 2018 Gold Standard Award winners are:

Large Racecourses

  • Ascot
  • Ayr
  • Cheltenham
  • Chester
  • Haydock Park
  • York
  • Most improved: Newbury

Overall winner: Chester

Small Racecourses

  • Bangor-on-Dee
  • Carlisle
  • Fakenham
  • Hamilton Park
  • Market Rasen
  • Musselburgh
  • Perth
  • Sedgefield
  • Uttoxeter
  • Most improved: Wetherby

Overall winner: Bangor-On-Dee

Alan Pickering, Chairman of the ROA Raceday Committee, said: “For our sport to retain its premier position, racing needs to attract and retain owners who reflect the diversity of our population.Reliance on a few wealthy individuals – welcome though they are – from home and abroad is no longer enough.We want salt of the earth Britons from across the spectrum to jump up and down chanting “we won the Derby” or “we won the Grand National”.To attract such people to racing, the quality of the race-day experience is all powerful.

“Those racecourses which succeed in obtaining the ROA Gold Standard accolade acknowledge the importance of making owners feel special. Chester and Bangor are not only Gold Standard recipients, they have proved to be ‘best of the best’ in their respective categories.Many owners have suggested that the staff responsible for the owners’ experience at these two tracks should run tutorials for their peers across the country. I could not put it better myself.”

New assessments 

From 1st January the hunt will be on to find the 2019 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 2019 Gold Standard Award, before the final decisions are made in October.

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

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