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Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Owners and trainers back criticism of 'horrendous' Worcester facilities

Worcester: a crowd of approximately 10,000 packed into the course on ladies' day
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Worcester was on Monday described as the worst track they had attended by owners Nicky Martin and Wayne Clifford as they joined trainers Alan King and Warren Greatrex in criticising the  facilities and calling for change.

Martin was at the course on Saturday as an owner with the Charlie Longsdon-trained Treackle Tart, but insists she will not be returning.

Ten-time champion trainer Paul Nicholls tweeted that some of his long-time owners wished not to return to the track following Saturday’s meeting, while fellow trainer Joe Tuite said he was appalled at what he saw on a first visit to the course in more than 15 years. 

A crowd of around 10,000 racegoers packed into the course for ladies' day when owners and trainers felt they were compromised by the facilities provided at the venue, which is leased to Arena Racing Company (Arc) by Worcester City Council.

King and Greatrex hit out at disgusting treatment of owners at Worcester

Martin, who also trains, said: “The facility they moved owners and trainers to was just far too small.

“It was horrendous. There was very limited seating for about 15 people, it took 20 or so minutes to buy a drink and it was just horrible. I won’t be going again.

"In terms of owners' and trainers' facilities and the stable canteen, it would be the worst track I’ve been to. Hopefully something is done to improve it.”

Clifford is approaching 30 years as an owner and chooses not to attend Worcester on account of the poor facilities.

His silks were sported by Nick Scholfield aboard the Michael Blake-trained Knight Of Noir, but he was watching from afar.

He said: “It’s a tip and I never go there. I run my horses there as it’s a nice, fair track but I would never go along and go in the owners' and trainers' facilities – I’d sooner sit outside on the grass. It’s been like it for years and it’s terrible.

“I went to Guernsey the other week – they haven’t got any buildings but the experience and facilities for owners was better there than it is at Worcester.

“Some tracks have done something about it and Bath, Salisbury and Taunton have improved significantly and are fantastic. Worcester stands out in the crowd – it’s the worst track I’ve been to.

“It must definitely put owners off investing in the sport when they are treated like that – if that is what horseracing is about, we might as well give up.”

Tuite, who had a winner with Black Kalanisi in division one of the bumper on Saturday, said: “It was absolutely terrible and my owners were the first people to say it to me.

“They put on some nice food but it was very poor in terms of the size of the facilities. The bar area was pathetically small, the beer pumps kept breaking and the one television was a Tote monitor sat on a chair leaning against the wall. It was a poor show.

“A lot of racecourses have improved immensely and it was a big day for Worcester with a huge crowd, but I just felt they shoved the owners out the back and didn’t care about them too much. It didn’t inspire you to rush back.”

Gordon hits out after going change leads to raft of non-runners at Worcester

Racehorse Owners Association chief executive Charlie Liverton said:  “A recent survey told us 44 per cent of owners left British racing because of the raceday experience and it’s therefore critical to the retention level and recruitment level for ownership that the experience for owners is acceptable.

“The majority of racecourses are making good strides in this area and it cannot be underestimated just how important the part of the on-course facilities plays in the overall ownership experience.”

Sam Cone, PR and communications manager for Arc, said: “We are in touch with the owners and trainers who registered their legitimate concerns and whose complaints we are taking seriously.”

If you are interested in this, you should read: David Ashforth's experience when he visited Worcester in 2005

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I went to Guernsey the other week – they haven’t got any buildings but the experience and facilities for owners was better there
E.W. Terms
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