Aintree named champion at racecourse awards for first time
Aintree was named champion at the annual RCA Showcase Awards on Thursday night, an event celebrating "excellence and innovation" among Britain's racecourses.
The awards, partnered by Moët Hennessy and Racing Post, were held at Newbury where the home of the Grand National was named the overall champion for the first time.
Aintree also collected the Community & Corporate Social Responsibility Award for the third year running having impressed the judges with its community programme as well as initiatives such as the Red Rum at 40 exhibition which was a finalist in the events category.
RCA chairwoman Maggie Carver said: "I'm absolutely delighted for all the winners and especially for the team at Aintree racecourse for being crowned Showcase champions.
"Aintree have delivered an impressive customer experience across all aspects of the racecourse over the last year, with the pinnacle being another hugely successful Grand National festival and they are worthy Showcase champions."
In all 74 submissions were received across 11 categories with 40 different courses involved. Last year's Showcase winner Ascot landed two awards for Operational Excellence and the Best Campaign category.
Fontwell won the Racing Post readers award, decided by racegoers who vote for their favourite racecourse customer service experience and which this year received more than 1,000 entries.
Arena Racing Company collected the 'Love of the Sport' award for the Silk Series while the digital and social media category went to Goodwood.
Yorkshire courses did well with Pontefract (#TopSpot award), Beverley (food and beverage) and York (events) all being successful.
Hamilton was recognised for their investment in owners' facilities as they took the owners' experience category. Having already collected the dual-purpose groundstaff award, Leicester racecourse was named groundstaff champions.
There were two individual awards presented as well with Maurice Crooks from Haydock being awarded the Neil Wyatt Lifetime Achievement Award and Alison Storey from York winning the inaugural Outstanding Achievement Award.
Carver added: "The excellence and innovation of all our finalists made the competition as fierce as ever, and the winners have shown exceptional commitment to delivering outstanding customer experiences.
"Well done to all the winners and finalists who can be very proud of their achievements. The variety and range of our racecourses are what makes the sport in Britain so unique and it's really pleasing to see so many represented and winning awards tonight."