Cheltenham Racecourse, home to the annual jump-racing festival in southwest England, will get a 45 million-pound ($68 million) makeover to improve the viewing experience for spectators, the Jockey Club said.
The new development will feature a “state-of-the-art” grandstand for 6,500 people, Jockey Club Group Chief Executive Officer Simon Bazalgette said in an interview today. It will replace the current block, containing private boxes, that was built in the 1920s.
“The time is right to enhance Cheltenham, which is not just a major racing event, it’s an important international sports event,” Bazalgette said.
The new building will include annual members’ facilities, general public viewing areas and private boxes as well as Royal Box facilities. It will also feature elevated walkways and multitier viewing of the parade ring. Subject to planning permission, it is scheduled to be ready in time for the 2016 horse racing festival.
The Jockey Club, the largest commercial group in British racing, has invested more than 80 million pounds at Cheltenham in the past three decades. The group said it has spent 155 million pounds on improving and refurbishing some of its 15 courses, including new grandstands at Aintree and Epsom Downs in the past 10 years.
More than 235,000 people attended this month’s four-day Cheltenham Festival, whose highlight is the Gold Cup race.
“We capped the attendance on Gold Cup day because we didn’t think we had the facilities to match,” Bazalgette said. “We know that if we have the facilities, there is demand.”