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Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Cheltenham team praised for ensuring festival overcame the beast from the east

Cheltenham racecourse was covered in a blanket of snow in the weeks before the festival
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Cheltenham racecourse's groundstaff team have received special praise following their incredible effort for the track to survive 'the beast from the east' in preparation for this year's festival.

The four-day festival was put into doubt after the Cotswolds track was covered in a thick blanket of snow a week before the opening day of Cheltenham on March 13 – but an inspired effort from the team meant the Cheltenham Festival went ahead as planned.

The RCA also awarded the annual Racecourse Groundstaff awards which were won by Warwick (jumps), Yarmouth (Flat) and Ascot (dual-purpose) – an overall groundstaff prize will be given at the RCA's showcase award ceremony at Aintree on November 8.

Caroline Davies, RCA Racecourse services director, said: "We are absolutely thrilled for all the winners and runners-up who have demonstrated an exceptional level of commitment and excellence across the year.

"Our racecourse groundstaff are always faced with a unique set of challenges and the weather extremes this year were particularly demanding. All the winners have shown tremendous ability to produce world-class facilities for our horsemen, so well done to them and we look forward to crowning the champion at Showcase 2018."

Warwick's groundstaff team were crowned champions for the second successive year in the jumping category, beating joint runners-up Aintree and Cheltenham. 

Jane Hedley, clerk of the course at Warwick, said: "Team Warwick are thrilled to have been chosen once again. Guy and his team have worked tirelessly over what has been a hugely challenging year, not only coping with the extreme weather we’ve seen, but also continuing to take the track forwards.

"Investment in drainage, the service road and canter down has been backed up with their daily attention to detail and willingness to engage with contractors and the wider community."

Newbury's clerk of the course Richard Osgood received a lifetime achievement prize from the RCA following 39 years of service to the Berkshire track.

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Our racecourse groundstaff are always faced with a unique set of challenges and the weather extremes this year were particularly demanding

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