Grand start for Warwick as Klein looks to build on success

One For Arthur trainer Lucinda Russell is plotting a repeat win at the Grand National which will mean a return to Warwick early next year.
One For Arthur trainer Lucinda Russell is plotting a repeat win at the Grand National which will mean a return to Warwick early next year.

Warwick’s new season gets under way next Tuesday, when the course hosts The Racing UK Grand Season Opener, the first of 18 meetings stretching through the winter and finishing at the end of May, writes David Hucker.

Prior to racing, course ambassador Dan Skelton will open the Coronation Club, the course’s new premium membership, which is limited to 35 people. In addition to the new lounge, club benefits include stable tours, access to the owners’ and trainers’ viewing steps and half-price guests on selected race days.

A good crowd is expected for what will be the first post-summer jump racing fixture for the South-West Jockey Club group of racecourses and general manager Andre Klein is looking forward to the day.

“We are hugely excited that the new season is now so close to getting under way” said Klein.

“Warwick Racecourse has made huge strides in recent years. We’ve established the course as one of the best performing small jumps tracks in the country and that is reflected in the extra fixture we have been awarded this season.

“We are committed to continuing to improve the race-day experience for everyone visiting Warwick Racecourse. The launch of the new Coronation Club is the next stage of our vision and we thank Dan Skelton for agreeing to cut the tape.

“Last season we attracted a lot of people to become repeat visitors to the racecourse and we have introduced new membership packages this year to make it even easier for people to enjoy the season.

“The whole team is looking forward to September 26 and another great season at Warwick Racecourse.”

One meeting that will be eagerly anticipated is Classic Chase Day in January when last year’s winner One For Arthur will be looking for a repeat success on his way to Aintree and a bid for back-to-back victories in the Randox Health Grand National.

For his trainer Lucinda Russell, last year’s Aintree success saw her become only the fourth woman to train a Grand National winner, following in the footsteps of Jenny Pitman, Venetia Williams and Sue Smith. Scottish-based Russell has confirmed that One For Arthur will follow the same path to the National as in 2017, meaning that an appearance in the Classic Chase is very much on the cards.

Also featuring on what is the course’s premier day’s racing of the year is the Neptune Investment Novices’ Hurdle (registered as the Leamington Hurdle), a trial for the Cheltenham Festival. Winner Willoughby Court, trained at Bourton-on-the-Water by Ben Pauling, went on to land the big race and continue the good record of horses who won at Warwick before making it to the top.

In addition to the Coronation Club, there is Track Specialist membership which costs £140 and includes entry to all 18 race meetings for 2017/18 - representing a £210 saving on paying at the gate.

For membership and advanced tickets, which start from £12.50, go to www.warwickracecourse.co.uk