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21st September 2023

Plus 18 and dry when waking in Gallipoli..

Todays blog guest is Rebecca Davies..

I first got to know Kim well after a visit Thorndale Farm, when I asked if he could spare time for a coffee having heard he wasn’t enamoured with experiences at one of ARC’s Racecourses.  He was the Trainer of Grand National, Gold Cup and Champion Hurdle winners and he wasn’t happy….. 

In fact, he was an open critic and I felt the best from of defence was attack so wanted to sit down and talk with Kim head on!  I set off in trepidation with my ‘tin hat’ and metaphorical armour on expecting a challenging time.

What ensued was two hours of open, constructive and humorous conversation around the delightfully large table in Kim’s office.  I’d expected to be seated at the far end to avoid the harsh expletives but Kim welcomed me and showed warmth and hospitality that I hope we reciprocate to Owners visiting any ARC racecourse.

I have since returned a number of times, around the same table, to chat with Kim and Peter Kerr who runs his syndicates and other owners discussing the good, bad and ugly of racing.  There is more good than anything else.

As we hit go on this blog, the 2024 fixture list has still not been published however there is much for racing to be enthused about.  The valuable Winter Millon extravaganza at Lingfield Park returns, as does Jump racing at Royal Windsor Racecourse, which ceased in 1988.  As one leading Jumps trainer said “it’s seriously good news for National Hunt racing” and I am sure Kim and his owners will be plotting their return to Windsor in December next year. 

ARC is continuing the £1m All Weather Horse of the Year bonus which runs from October to April and includes £50,000 in stablestaff bonus payments made direct to pool money for stablestaff associated with winning yards during this period.

Premierisation and Sunday evening fixtures are being trialled next year and we should collectively look to embrace these in the trust they will deliver what they set out to.  If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.  For this reason alone these significant fixture changes should be welcomed and we should get behind them to give the initiatives every chance of succeeding and delivering back to the industry.

ARC introduced Syndicate Lounges across all of its 16 racecourses this year, offering syndicates the choice of the standard O&T ticket allocation and benefits, or foregoing these and enjoying multiple complimentary syndicate badges with access to other private facilities.  Our aim is to give syndicates the choice of multiple complimentary admissions for days when larger groups attend, or retain the more premium experience in O&T.

Few will deny the growth of syndicates in recent years has been a welcome development in racing; making racehorse ownership more affordable and for many more enjoyable too in sharing the experience with like minded people.

Kim has over 60 horses in training, half of which are owned by syndicates.  Our aim at ARC racecourses is to give all of Kim’s owners an enjoyable day, regardless of investment levels, but with the raceday experience reflecting this.  Syndicate lounges are one way of achieving this.

Chepstow’s Jump Season Opener heralds the start of the ‘winter’ Jumps season on 13th and 14th October.  From then through to the bigger Spring Festivals, let’s enjoy and marvel at the courage and bravery of horse and rider and celebrate what are sure to be some exceptional performances on the track.

I also hope I’ll get to enjoy another coffee around Kim’s imposing table this season too!