Peplinski reflects on epic first season at the reins
Bumper season sees gate revenue up as owners and trainers show support for Perth
9,246 glasses of champagne and 2,832 portions of fish and chips later, management team celebrates successful 2016 season and plans for 2017
Perth Racecourse, the UK’s most northerly racecourse, is toasting the end of a successful 2016 season with news of an 11% rise in turnstile revenue as a result of a marked increase in the number of quality horses appearing at the Fair City track.
In a season that saw over 9,000 glasses of champagne and almost 3,000 portions of fish and chips consumed, chief executive Hazel Peplinski revealed that the number of runners at Perth was up 19% on the previous year resulting in one of its best seasons to date across both the horseracing and the commercial side of the business.
In her end of season review, Mrs Peplinski pointed to the commercial benefits of investing in the facilities which increase the appeal of Perth to owners and trainers, in a year that saw no less than 857 runners saddle up in Scone.
She said: “It’s been an epic season at Perth Racecourse, on and off the track and our successes have provided the team with great impetus for 2017 for which we are already madly preparing budgets and making exciting plans. My first year has personally been a steep learning curve but there is a real sense of satisfaction of a job well done by the whole team who have been amazing.
“Horse-racing has become a fairly commercial industry but I’m a firm believer in ‘no horses, no racing’ so we’ve done a lot of work behind the scenes to encourage more trainers to send their horses to Perth, and as a result the racing fans’ experience has undoubtedly been elevated.
“We finished the season with a wonderful dual between the two most recent Cheltenham Bumper Champions when we saw Moon Racer fractionally out point Ballyandy in their first ever hurdle races – unbelievable that their trainers both selected Perth for their charges’ hurdling debuts. What a treat! And then earlier in the summer we welcomed one of Perth’s highest ever-rated horses in Menorah who competed gallantly in The Pentland Perth Gold Cup under a welter weight to finish runner up to Gold Futures in front of 10,000 racegoers.
“The potential of Perth racecourse is really mind-blowing and it gives me huge confidence for the future as we continue to diversify the business with a growing C&B division. We see the racecourse as a real jewel in the tourism crown – one we shall continue to shine to realise our ambition to become one of the top racing venues in the UK.”
Perth further enhanced its credentials in horse welfare this year with the introduction of a fourth onsite vet to monitor horses post race, with dedicated vet treatment boxes built in the new yard.
The new jockey accommodation and stable facility, The Lodge, has generated an additional £72,000 worth of sales with a further £300,000 of revenue expected by the end of its first year in operation.
The £2.1m facility is open to the public on non-race days as a hotel and leisure outlet and has provided a further boost to tourism in the area.
Other changes which contributed to the record-breaking season included complimentary hospitality being introduced for all owners sending runners to Perth and new high profile onsite presenters in Gordon Brown and Alex Steedman from Racing UK. New big screens were also introduced in the winning enclosure to further enhance the guest experience.
Perth has also had a strong year in sponsorship attracting a host of well-known names including Heineken, Mackies of Scotland, Isle of Skye, Aberdeen Asset Management and Baillie Gifford among others.
A number of charities benefited from Perth’s big season with over £50,000 raised on behalf of Breast Cancer Now, Clic Sargent and PKAVS, as well as equine and animal welfare charities.
Plans are now well underway for an even more successful 2017 season including further investment in high quality turf husbandry and equine welfare, a £250,000 irrigation project to improve the watering system on the track and a further increase in prize money.
Perth’s season in numbers:
- 55,000 bets placed with Totepool
- £2,989.20 largest winning bet (with Tote)
- 9,246 glasses of champagne consumed
- 1,796 nips of whisky consumed
- 7,638 shots of vodka consumed
- 17,567 pints of lager consumed
- 2,832 portions of fish and chips consumed
- 857 number of runners at Perth this season
- 3,428 number of hooves to grace the Perth track
- £50,000 raised for charity