Cheltenham Raceourse to open its new grandstand on the first day of The Open
PUBLISHED: 16:37 06 October 2015 | UPDATED: 16:37 06 October 2015
Cheltenham Racecourse will open its new, five and a half storey grandstand on the first day of The Open, Friday 13th November 2015, on time and on budget. It is the final part of a £45million redevelopment of the course to be unveiled to the public. Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal will be present to open the stand at 11.30am.
Over the past 19 months, a number of different areas of Cheltenham Racecourse have been redeveloped, with the new stand the centrepiece of the project. The grandstand will provide bars, toilets, restaurants, private boxes and viewing facilities for racegoers.
The ground floor of the grandstand will consist of a public bar, to be called the Vestey Bar after Lord Vestey who was Chairman of Cheltenham for 21 years until 2011. A bistro will also provide hot food and a seafood offering. The first floor of the stand provides a great new bar for Annual Members who will have access directly onto their own section of steppings looking on to the racecourse. The remainder of the first floor is to be the Big Buck’s Champagne Bar, named after the horse that won an unprecedented four Ladbrokes World Hurdles and 18 consecutive races, also with direct access onto the viewing steps on the grandstand.
Andy Stewart, of The Stewart Family, owners of Big Buck’s commented, “The Stewart Family are delighted that the Champagne Bar in the new grandstand at Cheltenham has been named after the legendary Big Buck’s. “After fluffing the last in the Hennessy in 2008 we reverted to hurdles, where the horse went on to win the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham on Festival Trials Day. The family told Paul Nicholls that he was ‘bonkers’ to revert to hurdles, but after winning a world record sequence of 18 consecutive races, including four Grade One Ladbrokes World Hurdles and four Grade 1 Liverpool Hurdles, it appears he wasn’t that ‘bonkers’. “We feel very privileged to not only own him but the honour of having this fabulous new bar at the best racecourse in the world named after him.”
The second floor of the grandstand consists of an Owners & Trainers Bar, with a balcony overlooking the Parade Ring, horsewalk and course and The Cotswolds Club, an area available to those who used to have one of the A+R boxes which were removed to make way for the new stand. Moving up a floor, the third floor will consist of the Royal Box and 11 private boxes. Finally the top floor will house a new venture for Cheltenham, The Cheltenham Club, where members will be allocated a table for the season, from which to enjoy a four course, a la carte lunch, stunning views of Cleeve Hill and the Malvern Hills at the back of the stand and even a fireplace to keep warm between races during the winter months. This facility will provide an unrivalled offer of fine dining combined with a stunning sporting setting. In addition, the back of the Paddock TV screen, which was installed as part of the redevelopment will have an additional screen on it, so that races can be viewed from the plaza below the Paddock.
Cheltenham’s season starts on Friday 23rd October with the two day Showcase Meeting. For these two days of racing, various areas of the new stand will be in use, including the Vestey Bar, the Annual Members Bar, the Owners and Trainers Bar and The Cotswolds Club. In addition, the 11 private boxes will be in use as well as the Royal Box.
Ian Renton, Regional Director for Cheltenham and the South West, The Jockey Club, commented: “The team and I could not be more excited that we are to open the new grandstand at Cheltenham on the first day of The Open. Since we started the project in earnest immediately after The Festival in 2014, all of those involved in this new development have worked tirelessly to deliver such a fantastic new grandstand in readiness for this season, as well as providing significant enhancements to our racegoers’ experience as the works progressed over the last one and a half years. “It is a huge credit to our team at Cheltenham together with our contractors Kier and architects Roberts Limbrick that we have been able to continue with a complete racing programme whilst undertaking a development on this scale. The Festival this year provided enhanced facilities with the new Plaza area and See You Then Terrace providing additional space for racegoers, Quevega’s and the temporary bar on the ground floor of the new stand providing additional bar facilities and the steps at the front of the stand offering additional viewing. I am delighted that all those involved with the redevelopment so successfully met the logistical challenge to ensure that our racegoers were not inconvenienced last season.
“The feedback on those parts of the redevelopment that we have opened to date has been incredibly positive and I am sure that those who experience all that the new stand has to offer over the coming months will agree that this is a stand of which Cheltenham and its racegoers can be really proud. “I am delighted that we are able to name the bar on the ground floor of the stand after Lord Vestey, who gave so much whilst Chairman of the racecourse for 21 years.”
The opening of the new stand signifies the end of a £45million redevelopment of Cheltenham Racecourse, the largest of its kind by The Jockey Club. A total of 14 different projects have been completed over the past 19 months, including a refurbished weighing room, a new first aid room and the new crescent walkway which will be open for the Showcase meeting and will greatly assist racegoers’ mobility behind the grandstand and offer additional viewing of the parade ring
Paul Fisher, Group Managing Director of Jockey Club Racecourses, said: “The Jockey Club exists to support the long-term future of British racing and we see this £45m development as an important investment in Cheltenham and Jump Racing as a whole, on the back of putting more than £400m back into our sport in just the last decade. “We’ve been delighted with the feedback as each project within the development has been completed and opened, but the centerpiece has always been the fantastic new grandstand. We were clear we wanted to offer something for everyone in the facility and a huge credit must go to all of the Cheltenham team as well as our development partners, primarily Kier, and architects Roberts Limbrick for completing a project of this scale not only on budget but ahead of schedule and to a standard fitting of the Home of Jump racing.”
More information is available at www.cheltenham.co.uk