A £700,000 project to create a new enhanced unsaddling area at Ascot Racecourse, increased in size to accommodate the number of horses that run in races like the Wokingham and Royal Hunt Cup more comfortably and thereby improve equine welfare, is complete.
The new oval lawn merges seamlessly into the landscaping of the pre-parade ring layout, creating another attractive equine area within the surrounding hospitality lawns, which has been reshaped to ensure that horses and their connections return to the most suitable environment post-race.
The Unsaddling Enclosure lawn is positioned to benefit from maximum shade from the crown of an adjacent mature tree as well as a repositioned tulip tree, which sits to the south of the oval, where equine misting fans are available when required.
Deric Newman, Sales Manager at Civic Trees, said: “This has been an important project requiring specialist knowledge and equipment, at a prestigious venue which often has all eyes on it when playing host to major sporting events such as Royal Ascot. After initially attempting to relocate the existing tree, a process cancelled due to concerns about the safety of the tree, members of the public and the horses, we worked with the client and main contractor to provide an alternative solution. The overall result has made the area more visually appealing and completes the architect’s original design. Most importantly, the trees are going to result in improved conditions for the horses.”
The gradual curves of the walkways, in tandem with the improved landscaping, make for a more visually elegant route for the Royal Procession before it turns into the Parade Ring.
Guy Henderson, Chief Executive at Ascot, said: “As part of our ongoing commitment to our racing facilities, we are very pleased to unveil our new unsaddling area. The old area needed improvement. This will provide a much better end to races for connections. The business continues to perform strongly, enabling us to make investments in our racing. We are fortunate Royal Ascot is supported by a successful annual Official Partner and Supplier programme, headlined by our two invaluable official partners QIPCO and Gigaset, to whom we publicly express our thanks and gratitude.”
In order to improve its efficiency this year, the Flat Course Pop-Up irrigation system has undergone a £150,000 overhaul since the last at season. All 300 of the pop-ups around the track have been replaced and a new filter system has been fitted to the pump station.