Four weeks to go until Perth Festival
Perth is braced for another scintillating season of racing after the racecourse announced an increase in prizemoney, its richest ever race and pre-sales in tickets on the rise after prices were frozen.
Just four weeks ahead of the first of 15 National Hunt race meetings this year – the three-day Perth Festival – the racecourse revealed pre-sales of tickets are up 26% compared with this stage last year, helped by the commitment of no change in ticket prices. It follows a 4.4% increase in attendances in 2018, bucking the general downward trend at many other courses across the UK.
On the track, prizemoney across the season increases by 5% to a record £1.25M, with day three of the Perth Festival on Friday, 26 April offering the biggest single prize pot for a fixture in Perth’s history of £112,000. The three-day Festival is worth £304,000 overall as Perth looks to continue to grow its fields, having enjoyed a 3% rise in the number of runners last season.
Pre-sales are up across all fixtures, year-on-year, with Ladies Day currently the hottest ticket in town, fueled by the announcement that Greg James of BBC Radio 1 fame will perform a live set after racing. The fixture has also been boosted by the confirmation of new event sponsors in Brown and Blacks (race sponsor), Eva Lucia (fashion sponsor), Slater Menswear (best dressed male competition sponsor) and Elegance of Perth (best headwear sponsor). Again the event will support the charity Breast Cancer Now.
Advance sales have risen across hospitality too, which follows the arrival of new catering provider Heritage Portfolio. Many Restaurant and bar facilities throughout the venue have been refurbished and rebranded while Owners and Trainers will enjoy an enhanced experience thanks to an investment in facilities for those bringing runners to Perth.
Hazel Peplinski, Perth Racecourse Chief Executive, said: “It’s fever pitch here as we race towards another new season with boundless positivity and all signs showing that Perth remains the place to be. Our strategy to focus investment in our core product of racing was rewarded last year with a 4.4% increase in attendances and a 3% rise in the number of runners and we have remained true to that in 2019 by further increasing the prize pot to new record levels.
“The signs for the next six months are overwhelmingly positive with advance ticket sales up across all fixtures, most notably Ladies Day, as well as hospitality where we have a new and energetic partnership with Heritage Portfolio. Our main asset on any racecourse is the track itself and our turf has come out of the relatively kind winter months in really good order which is key.
“I’d like to pay tribute and thank the racecourse staff, the Hotel team and also our new partners Heritage Portfolio for hitting the ground running with an intensive programme of conferences and events since they arrived in February. There is a huge amount of energy on site with all teams focussing on our season start with the first day of the Festival on Wednesday 24 April - the countdown is truly on!
“It’s not an easy climate at present for any business in the UK and racecourses are not immune to the challenges however there is tremendous momentum at Perth just now reflected by our very encouraging advance sales. There has been significant investment and creativity over the winter months to ensure we are constantly enhancing the on-site experience for our loyal customers who choose to return year after year to Perth for their treasured days out at the races.”
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