Thursday, 6 November 2014

A Dwarf On Giant's Shoulders

Award nominations are a bit like London buses. You don’t receive any for a while and then three come along all at once. 

Next week we shall be attending the Showcase Awards – the Racecourse Association’s version of the Oscars – and Cartmel is one of only two tracks which have been nominated in three separate categories. It’s a bit like holding a fantastic ante-post bet: you’ve got 33/1 about a horse which is now only 5/1 for the big race – but you’re pretty sure that it won’t win anyway. I’m a bit of a pessimist that way, which is why I’m telling everyone about the nominations now while I’ve still got the chance.
The first nomination is for corporate & social responsibility. The races at Cartmel have a dramatic impact on the local community, some very positive and others less so. If you’re not one of the local residents attending the races, you could be forgiven for finding them a bit inconvenient – which is why we strive to do whatever we can to reduce any negative impacts such as increased traffic and litter. When we’re not racing, which is almost 360 days of the year, the racecourse is central to the community – and not just geographically – providing a base for the local sports clubs, the cubs and the scouts. Many local events, school activities and fundraising activities take place on the racecourse and we’re proud of our local connections.
The second nomination is for operational excellence, particularly in relation to the introduction of the race-day camping area. The camping facilities were an immediate success and sold out on five out of the seven race-days. We’ve enjoyed great feedback from racegoers, but also from local traders: particularly the shop keepers and publicans, who witnessed an uplift in turnover as a result of the additional visitors to the village.
Our final nomination is in the food and beverage category, where our new tented village has attracted the attention of the judges. The area, which has been made more accessible through improved drainage, incorporates a big outdoor screen, the Conservatory Restaurant (run by Rowleys Catering), a number of private party tents and a range of food stands, largely promoting local produce.
A Quality Assessment Inspector from Visit England commented "Village businesses were strongly represented with Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding, local breweries, cheese and ice cream manufacturers all enjoying a busy day. The opportunity for local producers to complement the race-day experience and capitalise from the large crowd was grabbed with both hands and a win-win situation was apparent from seeing the excited and satisfied customers sampling the high quality fare."
Several members of our small team will be attending the awards ceremony. When it comes to organising events, there are few successes that can be claimed by one person alone. As George Herbert said "A dwarf on a giant’s shoulders sees the further of the two." Quite who are the giants and who are the dwarves among our team I’m not sure, but I’m finishing this piece now before I dig any further...
The weekend selection is Lily Waugh in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle at Wincanton.

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