Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Cheltenham set for huge shake-up

Plans for a major redevelopment of Cheltenham racecourse are set to be submitted next year.

It is a time for change at National Hunt racing's flagship course, with long-standing leader Edward Gillespie stepping aside for Ian Renton, recently appointed the regional director of Jockey Club Racecourses for Cheltenham and the South West.

Gillespie, who is helping Renton to settle into his role, said: “We are very much on track for the progress of the development plans.

“This is a very substantial building we are looking at here and replaces all the buildings which were constructed prior to 1970. We have 45 boxes there.

“They will be replaced with a substantial grandstand and it will take more than one year to build, continuing through one Festival.

“It is nearly a two-year development. Nothing will happen until after the 2014 Festival.

“It will be the single largest development we have done at Cheltenham by some distance.”

Gillespie and Renton confirmed the capacity for Gold Cup day next March would be reduced to 67,000 from 70,000 in order to make spectators feel more comfortable, while next month's Paddy Power Gold Cup will be worth a record £160,000.

Bryan Cooper is trusted to deliver the nap selection on Our Girl Lucy for his Tralee-based father, Tom, at Tramore today.

The 2011 champion conditional jockey has been a real riding find and this mare should have the quality to take the Centenary Celebrations Beginners' Chase at the seaside track.

Co Tyrone trainer Andy Oliver had a 25-1 winner, Dubaya, at Navan yesterday.

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