Latest leg of Warwick Carnival will have real community feel

San Benedeto heads the entries for the feature race at Warwick on Wednesday.
San Benedeto heads the entries for the feature race at Warwick on Wednesday.

It’s the third leg of Warwick’s Qatar Airways May Racing Carnival on Wednesday, when the course is encouraging people to come and celebrate the heritage of the town at its Proudly Warwick Raceday, writes David Hucker.

The meeting is one of the most richly endowed of the season, boasting £100,000 in prize money across a seven-race card, with the feature £30,000 Wigley Group Carnival Chase attracting 17 entries, including the 158-rated San Benedeto and 2016 Punchestown Festival winner God’s Own.

There is a £25,000 prize fund for the Feldon Dunsmore Building Solutions Hurdle over two miles and champion trainer Nicky Henderson has entered two in the Hook Norton Brewery 1849 Classic Coronation Handicap Hurdle worth over £13,000.

The raceday will also feature the third annual Jockey Club Challenge Charity Race on behalf of the Air Ambulance Service which has raised more than £35,000 for the charity in the last two years.

The Carnival got off to a flying start on Bank Holiday Monday with Kids Carnival Day, which welcomed 6,686 racegoers and marked the biggest crowd at the racecourse in more than 20 years.

General manager Andre Klein said: “We are proud of our racecourse and of the improvements made on and off the track in recent years which has seen attendances grow.”

“We are also really proud to be part of the community and on this raceday, we particularly focus on our locals and hope that they will join us in celebrating our great town.

“We are also pleased to be welcoming local businesses to exhibit a stand to showcase what they do for the local community and would like to hear from anyone who would like to be involved.

“Proudly Warwick is the stage for some of Warwick’s best racing and our feature races on the day are likely to throw some future stars into the history of our track.”

Warwick Racecourse was a finalist for the Community and Corporate and Social Responsibility Award at the Racecourse Association’s Showcase Awards 2017 for its work on the St Mary’s Land Masterplan.

The new-look entrance, opened by the Mayor of Warwick, Cllr Stephen Cross earlier this year, was the first step of the masterplan to improve the common land which is home to the racecourse and other community assets.

The racecourse is one of the oldest in the country with racing being traced back to as early as 1694, when the sport was introduced as part of efforts to rebuild the town after the Great Fire.

Cllr Cross said: “The increased attendances at Warwick Racecourse are making quite a difference in the local economy which harks back to why the people of the town thought it was a good idea to first establish racing in the town.

“The fact that we have an annual raceday celebrating Warwick reflects that history and it is a great tradition to have.”

Gates open at 12.10pm, two hours ahead of the first race at 2.10pm. For more ticket information, call 405560 or go to www.warwickracecourse.co.uk