York has been voted the best racecourse in the country this year by members of the Racegoers Club, the official supporters club for British racing fans.
It is the fourth time York has been awarded the prestigious title as the track won a close-fought battle with perennial champions Cheltenham.
York’s chief executive William Derby said: “The best awards to win are always those voted for by your customers, so it gives me great pleasure to be able to thank the Racegoers Club for this honour.
“As has been well documented, the standards across all racecourses just keep on improving, so it is a real tribute to everyone involved with York that we have managed to secure the top spot.
“I’m sure that the spirit of friendly competition will see the team at Cheltenham keen to take back the crown, so we’re already working hard to retain it with our 2017 season under full steam.”
York also took the title of best large racecourse in The North and Scotland region, while Kelso was voted best small racecourse in the same area.
Newmarket was were voted best large racecourse in the Midlands, while Wolverhampton was the best small racecourse in that region.
In the South, Newbury collected the best large racecourse award and Chelmsford City scooped the small racecourse equivalent.
Voters were asked for their scores in five categories -- viewing experience, facilities, food and drinks, atmosphere and value for money. The courses were split into three geographical regions and the winners were selected as those that had the highest overall average score across all categories.
The results produced a record 19 racecourses scoring more than 4.5 points out of five in any particular category, highlighting the hard work they are putting into maximising customer experience.
Winning track York was described by one member as “still the best racecourse in the country. Great racing and a brilliant atmosphere, a must visit this year.”
Newbury picked up particular praise for their biggest jumps meeting of the year, the bet365 Hennessy Gold Cup festival, with one voter saying it was “a fantastic meet with a great atmosphere”.
Julian Thick, chief executive of Newbury, said: “We are delighted to have been voted best large racecourse in the South for 2016. This award means a huge amount to the team here because it is voted for directly by our customers. Equally, it is a great testament to the hard work and resourcefulness of everyone here to receive this accolade at a time when we are part of the way through a major redevelopment of the racecourse.”
Wolverhampton topped three of the five categories in the Midlands and has been described as “a hidden gem on the fixture list that all members should visit”.
The praise for the smaller tracks didn’t stop there with Chelmsford City singled out for its “easy charm, helpful staff and great viewing”.
Meanwhile Kelso was described as “a course that looks after the racegoer, with viewing that is probably the best in Britain”.
Newmarket gained credit for its all-round racing experience, providing easy access to the pre-parade ring, parade ring and viewing stands, helping to create, “a very welcoming, quality racecourse”.
Amy Starkey, of Jockey Club Racecourses, which runs Newmarket’s two tracks, said: “We are thrilled to have been voted the best large racecourse in the Midlands by the Racegoers Club and I would like to thank all the members for their continued support. We strive to constantly improve the customer experience at both the Rowley Mile racecourse and the Adnams July Course and therefore to get recognition in the form of this award makes us very proud.”
Managed by the Racecourse Association, the Racegoers Club comprises thousands of supporters of British racing. Membership is open to anyone who goes racing. The club champions racegoers across the country, supporting its members and ensuring that racegoers have a voice with racecourses and in the wider industry.
Its other aims are to drive support for British horse racing at all levels, encourage attendance and engagement with the sport, and encourage ownership of racehorses through syndicates.
The club is a not-for-profit organisation, focused on providing the best value in racing for racegoers. All members receive discounts on admission to courses across the country throughout the year.