Perth Racecourse all set for 15 fixtures of fun as countdown to 2018 season gathers pace
The season-opener at the stunning Scone Palace venue is the three-day Perth Festival from Wednesday, 25 April to Friday, 27 April with that final day including the running of a new race, also the richest of Perth’s season, as well as the longstanding Highland National. The new £35,000 Fair Maid Of Perth Mares Steeplechase (Class 1) (Listed) over 3 miles will hope to attract top staying steeplechase mares from across the UK, Ireland and France, while after racing DJ Nick Grimshaw from BBC Radio 1 will play a live set on stage.
Across all 15 fixtures Perth Racecourse has committed record prize-money of close to £1.25m for 2018, helped by an 18% rise in executive contribution and representing a 35% increase overall, with Gold Cup Day, the new Saturday fixture later in June and September’s Glorious Finale sure to be among the other racing standouts of the season.
Meanwhile, the hugely popular Totepool Ladies Day gives racegoers a chance to dress to impress, with Breast Cancer Now the charity supported by the day and Lovely Laura and Ben Santiago on the main stage to entertain after the final race.
Hazel Peplinski, Perth Racecourse chief executive, said: “Excitement here at Perth is already sky high ahead of the 2018 season with a real focus on track action and achieving the best possible spectacle for racegoers.
“Our three-day Perth Festival is packed with highlights such as our first Listed race on the Wednesday, our richest ever card worth £103,000 on the Thursday and our new and richest race of the season on the Friday, not to mention Nick Grimshaw on stage.
“It’s a cracking way to start the season and there’s so much more to look forward to beyond that as well. We’ve been working hard to put in a place the strongest possible offering for owners and trainers and we’re excited by the conversations and feedback we’ve enjoyed so far this year – let’s hope our record prize-money is matched by their support and record levels of excitement and fun.”
The Perth executive’s strategy for 2018 is a sharper focus on prize-money, fully embracing the industry’s new fixture and funding policies introduced in advance of 2018 and trusting that record investment in the core product of racing will deliver an increase in field sizes and crowds.
This season’s significant prize-fund upturn includes the new Appearance Money scheme and is the first time in Perth’s history that prize-money for its 15 National Hunt fixtures shall be more than £1m. As a result, average prize-money per race increases from £8,500 to £11,500.
In addition to the rise in prize-money, Perth’s fixture list for 2018 has become increasingly customer-friendly with the addition of that second Saturday fixture in June, with the track’s other Saturday meeting in August established as a sell-out.
Gearing up for a record season, Perth’s advance ticket sales are up 68% compared to last year, with the Perth Festival Friday raceday already up 138% in comparison to 2017 sales.
Perth Racecourse has also made considerable investment around the venue to strengthen the spectator experience, including improvements to TV coverage, PA and sound equipment, enhancement of the on-course fish and chip shop and refurbishment of some toilet facilities.