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It’s been a busy winter at Yorkshire’s Garden Racecourse in preparation for the 2024 season, which begins on Thursday 18th April. Expansion and improvement of the weighing room facilities have been completed prior to the start of the season, as well as stable yard alterations and a new Chairman of the Board has been appointed with Andrew Wells taking over from Nigel Clark, who steps down after five seasons at the helm.

Remarkably Mr Wells’ Great Great Grandfather, William Wells was inaugural Chairman of Ripon Race Company Ltd at inception in 1899, when the racecourse moved to its current site. Andrew follows in his footsteps as well as those of his Great Grandfather, Arthur Wells, who was also Chairman of the Racecourse at the time of WWI.

“What a great honour it was to be asked to become Chairman of RRC 125 years since my Great Great Grandfather William Wells was the founding Chairman” said Mr Wells.

“It makes me immensely proud to think that I could be standing where he had stood to watch the first winner come over the finish line back in 1899, although I am not sure what he would have made of Media rights and affordability checks!

“Along with my fellow board members we will work together to maintain and develop the race company as it steers it’s way through the current challenges facing British racing.”

To celebrate the 125th Anniversary racegoers have the opportunity to attend two meetings, Saturday 27th April and Friday 10th May, for the price of one. Anybody with a pre-booked ticket for the Saturday meeting will be given a completely free ticket for the meeting on Friday evening two weeks later.

Another interesting change is the new Sunday fixture on 11th August which will be ‘Family Olympics Day’ to coincide with the Olympic closing ceremony. With lots of free family entertainment and medals up for grabs.

The Racecourse has invested heavily in futureproofing with a large-scale extension to the Weighing Room and the facilities within as well as improving wash down and veterinary facilities in the stable yard.

Managing Director James Hutchinson said:

“Work began on our Weighing Room project immediately after the end of our 2023 season and we’re delighted to have upgraded it but without losing the character of the original Weighing Room, which was constructed in the 1930’s. A lot has changed in racing since then!

“The upgrades we’ve made are intended to bring facilities up to date and futureproof the racecourse for years to come and we’re already looking at additional projects for the next close season, when we intend to make improvements to the stable staff hostel.”