Hamilton Park crowned Showcase 2018 Champions

The Racecourse Association is delighted to announce that Hamilton Park Racecourse has been crowned Showcase Champion for 2018 at the ninth annual RCA Showcase & Awards.

Held this year at Aintree Racecourse, the Showcase & Awards, partnered by Moët Hennessy, Racing Breaks, Racing Post and Great British Racing (GBR), celebrate excellence and innovation in racecourse customer experience.

As well as being named overall Showcase Champion, Hamilton Park also claimed the #TopSpot Award for their innovative elevators which are designed to replicate starting stalls, giving racegoers a truly immersive experience as they enter the racecourse grandstand.

Vivien Currie, Chief Executive of Hamilton Park, commented “This has been the culmination of many years work by the talented team at Hamilton Park. 2018 has been a wonderful year for the racecourse with lots of exciting initiatives which will see us offer fantastic experiences for customers for many years to come.

“This is my tenth anniversary as Chief Executive and my team has been unbelievable in that time in helping to achieve our goals. You have to take risks as a small racecourse—we’ve seen that in the past at these awards and the rewards are clear.

“We are incredibly proud to be Showcase Champions and it’s also a win for Scottish Racing.”

Across a sparkling awards night held at Aintree Racecourse, there were a total of 15 awards handed out by special guests Sam Quek MBE and Katie Walsh.

Beginning the night, the two awards for individuals were presented. The Neil Wyatt Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Richard Osgood of Newbury Racecourse on account of his 40 years of service to the Berkshire course. Trudi Moulton of Fakenham was honoured with the RCA Outstanding Achievement Award for her continued excellent work and development as an integral member of the Fakenham team.

Cartmel Racecourse collected the Racing Post Readers’ Award, the only Award to be nominated by racegoers. Cartmel’s excellent customer service was recognised with the racecourse receiving over 300 submissions in addition to the winning one.

Bath’s Kids Takeover Racing raceday suitably impressed the judges in the Events category with its innovative approach in handing over the reins for the day to junior racegoers. Royal Windsor was also rewarded with a Highly Commended award in this category for their Choc ‘n’ Awe Willy Wonka-inspired firework show.

The 2018 Best Campaign Award was won by Goodwood for the supporting campaign behind the Magnolia Cup at this year’s Qatar Goodwood Festival. The judges were delighted by the emphasis placed on the competitors and their stories to help narrate this special event and drive both ticket sales and charity awareness.

Always a popular category, Operational Excellence was awarded to Royal Windsor on account of the exceptional results gained from their re-imagined Monday night series. To demonstrate the depth of quality in this category, Goodwood and Newbury were presented with Highly Commended awards for the Richmond Enclosure redevelopment and Owners’ Club respectively.

Cheltenham’s new pan-Asian concept restaurant Theatre @ The Festival as a hit with the judges, who praised its bold direction and fantastic customer feedback as the winner in the Food & Beverage category.

Following a season of voting by ROA members, the judges had the final say in the Owners Experience category and crowned Wetherby the best in class for 2018.

In just the second running of the Love of the Sport Award, Sandown Park’s attempt to bring two racedays to their racegoers with the Tingle Creek/Becher Chase double-header was a hit with the judging panel who praised the concept of giving two important races in the jump season their rightful attention.

Uttoxeter’s powerful submission around prostate cancer awareness and prevention claimed the Community & Corporate Social Responsibility Award, with 75 lives being potentially saved with early warnings given after attending the racecourse clinic. Aintree, looking to win this award for an unprecedented fourth time in succession, and Ascot were awarded Highly Commended accolades for their wonderful efforts in this space.

The Digital & Social Media Excellence Award was reclaimed by Ascot thanks to their new mobile-first website which revolutionised the customer journey and resulted in a greater yield from online purchases.

For just the second time in the history of the Showcase & Awards, the judges exercised their right to award the Outstanding Initiative Award for a submission which transcended categories and was deserved of individual praise. Beverley’s Sign Language Raceday was heralded as something all racecourses should take note of for its inclusiveness and ability to genuinely change their raceday experience for customers hard of hearing.

The Racecourse Groundstaff Awards, sponsored by Pitchcare, Watt Fences and Fornells, come to their climax at the Showcase & Awards. Warwick Racecourse was crowned overall Groundstaff Champion, beating Ascot (dual purpose) and Great Yarmouth (flat) whom were already winners in their respective categories.

RCA Chairman Maggie Carver commented “I’m absolutely thrilled for the team at Hamilton Park on being crowned Showcase Champion. This accolade is reserved for a very select number of racecourses who have demonstrated brilliance in providing a fantastic experience for racegoers across the season.”

“The foundations of our Showcase & Awards, excellence and innovation, were on show amongst all of our Finalists and the eventual winners. The competition in 2018 was as fierce as ever, and our winners have shown exceptional commitment to delivering outstanding customer experiences.”