Musselburgh scoop Owners' Award
The tenth annual RCA Showcase and Awards was this year held at Hamilton Park racecourse, who host the awards as last year's Showcase Champions.
During the daytime seminars racecourse and industry personnel got to hear from a wide range of speakers, including Hamilton Park themselves regarding their move from racecourse to resort with the building of their new hotel.
Other speakers on the day included Sean Farrington from BBC Radio 5 Live, Geoff Ellis from DF Concerts and Events and David Fraser from Hamilton Fraser.
The evening's Awards were a celebration of innovation and excellence from racecourses including in the fields of Diversity & Inclusion, Digital & Social Media Excellence and Food & Beverage.
The Owners Experience Award, whose nominees were selected by the feedback provided by ROA members, was scooped by Musselburgh, thanks to their fantastic raceday team led by Jane Walker. The Scottish track will aim to do the double at the ROA Horseracing Awards next month.
Our congratulations to them and also to the overall Showcase Champions, which this year was Pontefract. Guinness World Record-winning Uniquely Yorkshire raceday wowed the judges for them in the Events category by creating the world’s biggest image of a whippet made up of racegoers.
Beginning the night, the two awards for individuals were presented. The Chairman’s Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Racing was given to Simon Bazalgette who recently stood down as Chief Executive of the Jockey Club after 11 years at the helm.
Petra Gough of Sandown Park Racecourse was honoured with the RCA Outstanding Achievement Award for her continued commitment to promoting racing at the Esher venue.
York Racecourse celebrated a wonderful evening by being crowned Champion Groundstaff team in the Racecourse Groundstaff Awards in association with Pitchcare, Watt Fences and Fornells. York were also named winners of the Racing Post Readers Award to celebrate customer service, the only award of the evening to be nominated by racegoers.
The 2019 Best Campaign Award was won by ARC & Doncaster for their innovative take on family days. The dino-themed days were a mammoth success with racegoers, so much so that the campaign and raceday was rolled out across the ARC group.
Operational Excellence was awarded to the 2019 hosts Hamilton Park on account of the business-change project to include an onsite hotel, transforming Hamilton Park from racecourse to resort.
Cheltenham made it back-to-back wins in the Food & Beverage category for the stunning Horse & Groom, a gastro-pub themed hospitality concept that proved a sell-out success at this year’s Festival™. Such was the fierce competition in this category, the judges awarded Perth a Highly Commended accolade for their partnership with Heritage Portfolio which has delighted racegoers throughout the season with fresh, innovative food and beverage options.
The Love of the Sport Award went the way of Salisbury Racecourse, who managed to beat off competition from some serious rivals to win with their Harvey the Horse Easter Trail which managed to secure a host of new attendees to the racecourse and cement the racecourse amongst the city’s tourist attractions.
Ripon’s green travel maps were a hit with the judges in the Spotlight Award, reserved for initiatives that were standalone and could be adopted by other racecourses to enhance the customer experience. These maps embrace the environmental nature of Ripon’s brand and provide racegoers with scenic cycle routes to the racecourse.
Aintree continued their outstanding record in the Racing Together Community Award by making it four wins in five years thanks to the recent innovations in the Aintree Community Strategy. Aintree worked alongside the Royal Marines to introduce a health & wellbeing element to their work and managed to interact with hundreds of local people. Due to the outstanding calibre of submissions in this category, the judges awarded a Highly Commended accolade to Ascot on account of their summer festival with Sebastian’s Action Trust.
The Digital & Social Media Excellence Award was reclaimed by Goodwood following a new initiative to leverage social media influencers around the Qatar Goodwood Festival, ensuring a stream of organic, positive content.
In its first year, the Diversity & Inclusion Award was won by Scottish Racing and their fantastic partnership with William Hill and Alzheimer’s Scotland to ensure that racing in Scotland was dementia-friendly and a welcoming day out for all who attended. Beverley’s stellar work in welcoming Syrian refugees to the racecourse was Highly Commended by the judges.