While the abandonment of the latest meeting will have been a disappointment, Warwick general manager Andre Klein had some good news for racegoers with the announcement that high-profile sponsors Qatar Airways will be backing the extended May Carnival, writes David Hucker.
Launched three years ago, the carnival, based on a successful formula adopted by Klein in his previous role in New Zealand, has been extended to four meetings. It has attracted new headline sponsorship from Qatar Airways, which operates out of Birmingham Airport, and will be billed as the Qatar Airways May Racing Carnival.
Prize money for the Carnival will now eclipse £250,000, making it a real attraction for trainers and owners looking for good opportunities in the late spring.
“We are delighted to announce Qatar Airways as headline sponsor,” said Klein.
“It is a massive coup to attract such a prestigious sponsor and reflects the huge strides that Warwick Racecourse has made in recent years in establishing the course as one of the best performing small jumps tracks in the country.”
The carnival gets underway on Monday May 7, with each fixture incorporating a different theme to give people of all ages an opportunity to enjoy the races at the Jockey Club racecourse. As well as sponsoring a race at each fixture, Qatar will back a contest for the leading trainers and jockeys over the four days.
The Kids Carnival Day will open the Carnival with a host of free entertainment and activities for children taking place alongside the racing, with Peter Rabbit attending as special guest.
Ladies’ Night follows on May 12 with live music and entertainment, including a leading Robbie Williams tribute act. There will also be a new competition, ‘Fashions On The Field’, with two Qatar Airways economy class return flights from Birmingham to Doha among the prizes.
Proudly Warwick Raceday on the 23rd celebrates the town and the racecourse’s involvement in the community. It is the focal point of the carnival with the feature races being the £30,000 Wigley Group Carnival Chase and the £25,000 Feldon Dunsmore Building Legal Solutions Carnival Hurdle.
The finale is the Celebration Raceday on the 30th and the last chance for racegoers to enjoy the action at Warwick until September.
In the meantime, all eyes will be on Saturday’s Randox Health Grand National at Aintree where Warwick Classic Chase winner Milansbar will attempt to do the double, following in the footsteps of One For Arthur in 2017.
Since winning at Warwick under Bryony Frost back in January, Milansbar has been ridden by different jockeys to finish fifth in the Eider Chase and second in the Midlands National.
With the maximum field allowed of 40, the Neil King trained chaser has just got in at number 38 and will be reunited with Frost, who is having her first ride in the race.