Cheltenham Racecourse is one of the very best in the country, providing an outstanding experience for the many racehorse owners that choose to compete with their horses at the track. But even so, I doubt that Simon Clarke (the owner of this week’s selection – Module in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup) will be offered a free space to pitch his tent or park his motorhome at the racecourse.
As far as I’m aware, Cartmel is the only racecourse in Britain, possibly the World, that offers free camping as part of the ownership experience. We haven’t yet had the opportunity to welcome JP McManus with his back-pack, but a small number of owners have taken advantage of the offer during the last two years.
Each season we have to be sure to reserve a couple of spaces for owners at all meetings, because camping has become an immensely popular dimension of a trip to Cartmel races and availability is strictly limited – especially for campervans and caravans. Such is the level of demand that, this year, we have decided to stagger the booking process.
Although race-tickets are not yet available for individual race-meetings, next Monday we shall offer the opportunity for racegoers to book a season ticket for camping. For a fee of £740, campers will be able to book a pitch on the inside of the ‘Scout Hut’ bend of the racecourse – including a space for a campervan or motorhome at all nine racedays and two annual membership badges. The camping pitches may be used on both the night before and the night of each raceday.
Annual Members badges admit customers to the Paddock Enclosure at all nine Cartmel racedays, plus more than 45 fixtures at other racecourses throughout Britain and Ireland. Anyone wishing to book a package as a Christmas gift should contact the racecourse office before it closes on Friday 16th December.
In the New Year, we shall make camping pitches available for whole race-meetings, so for example: all three days of the May meeting or both days of the August meeting. This will ensure that those racegoers who wish to stay for the a whole racing weekend will have priority over those staying for just one raceday.
Finally, in February, we anticipate releasing camping packages for individual racedays, so for example: the nights either side of Totepool Cumbria Crystal Cup Day or North West Evening Mail Picnic Day.
Anyone who was forced to study classics at school will be aware that the word ‘camp’ is derived from the Latin word for ‘field’ – and ever since the launch of our camping enterprise we’ve always acknowledged that the facilities are basic. The good news is that increased numbers of campers have helped us to justify an increased budget – so if JP McManus does decide to descend on us, he can expect to find a greater number of loos and hot running water among a number of improvements to the field-infrastructure.