Perth Racecourse is thrilled to announce that Morag Connaghan and Matthew Taylor shall jointly manage the racecourse from 1st January as Head of Business and Head of Racing & Operations, respectively.
A winning combination of experience, energy and dynamism, Morag and Matthew shall take over the management of the racecourse at the turn of the year from current CEO Hazel Peplinski, who announced earlier this year her plans to retire from full-time work at the end of 2022.
Morag has established herself as a hugely popular figure at Perth, having already served the racecourse for 20 years, initially as company secretary and latterly as finance manager, performing a critical role in guiding the racecourse business through all the significant challenges presented by the pandemic.
Arriving in January 2019 in the new post of racing manager, reflecting the ongoing growth and investment in the core activity of racing at Perth, Matthew has brought valuable racing expertise to the team and is widely regarded as an ambitious executive with considerable untapped potential.
The news was confirmed by Perth Racecourse as it prepares to launch ticket sales for season 2023, following strong “bouncebackability” at Britain’s northernmost track this year, which was the first season with full crowds since 2019.
Welcoming the appointments, Hazel Peplinski – who will serve as CEO until December 31 – said: “I am delighted that the Perth Hunt Committee supports my recommended succession plan, which has always been to promote from within rather than to recruit externally; I have been evolving our small team with this day in mind for a while now, so it is a proud moment for sure.
“Morag and Matthew between them have the required skills and experience and richly deserve this promotion. To my mind they are best placed to take this special racecourse forward and I am excited to hand over this opportunity to build on our strong recovery out of the pandemic. The whole team work tirelessly and it has been wonderful to feel that collective buzz again this summer from having delivered a fun day out to so many of our loyal racegoers.”
On her promotion and new role, Morag said: “This is a very proud day for me, it will be a true privilege to jointly manage Perth Racecourse. We have such excellent equine facilities for a small rural racecourse, our spectacular Perthshire location enabling us to build a loyal band of racegoers enjoying our wonderful sport and ensuring our stands are always full throughout the summer creating a brilliant atmosphere. I will work tirelessly with Matthew to make sure that continues.”
Matthew, upon the announcement, added: “I am thrilled to be given the honour and responsibility to jointly manage Perth Racecourse from the new year. We have invested much more into the racing surface in recent years, with welfare of horse and jockey remaining high on our list of priorities. Trainers travel horses to Perth from England, Ireland and Wales as well as Scotland and they know exactly what they can expect when they reach us. We have focussed on ensuring the fundamentals are spot on and earned that trust that shall stand us in good stead across the whole operation – it is my commitment to further build on that, alongside Morag, in 2023.”
Perth Racecourse enjoys a 15-strong National Hunt racing fixture list with highlights including the three-day, season opening William Hill Perth Festival, Edinburgh Gin Ladies Day and bet365 Perth Gold Cup Day.