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Carlisle Racecourse boss defends Ladies Night event after complaints

A racecourse boss has mounted a robust defence of one of its showpiece events after criticisms surfaced in its aftermath.

Richard Clements photo
Richard Clements

Carlisle Racecourse manager Richard Clements was reacting to comments made on the News & Star website attacking some elements of Monday night’s Ultimate Ladies’ Night meeting.

Around 5,600 turned up for a female-only race card, fashion show and music – in spite of lashing rain.

A small proportion afterwards vented their frustrations online over queuing, the price of drinks, bars being unable to cope, and not enough toilets or places to sit down.

The racecourse said heavy rain on the night led to a ‘mass migration’ of racegoers indoors for what is primarily billed as an outdoors event, where they can be catered for.

Mr Clements said: “This is Cumbria. It rained and that puts pressure on the indoors and certain enclosures.

“The reality is it’s an outdoor event with some indoor facilities.

“We don’t have or promise space and shelter for everyone. We also can’t practise having an event for 5,000 people.”

He said the racecourse always reviewed events afterwards and would be looking at improvements. Mr Clements said: “I admit we didn’t get everything right on the night but we got a good 95 per cent of it right.

“The people posting represent about 0.1 per cent of the 5,500 who came along and had a great time.”

He added: “We have made a number of improvements and last year we had 80 comments. The way I view it is that we have 70 less than last year.”

Mr Clements said: “In terms of pricing, we are competitive with any leisure venue.

“The price of drinks will not be the same as the supermarkets and never will be. They will be competitive to any other sporting event.

“Likewise, £12 for six races and an hour-and-half of live music, I think, is extremely good value. If you went to The Sands Centre you would pay more than that just for an hour-and-half of live music.”

He said comparisons to York neglected to mention that people would be charged “three times more than at Carlisle”.

Have your say

Carlisle's ladies night should have been cancelled in my opinion, with the main advertised entertainment withdrawing from the event plus the bad weather (check forcast) it was guaranteed to be on a downer. Carlisle needs to do something about this racecourse as on most of my visits I've been appalled by the expense of drinks and the poor quality of racing that its attracting. I recommend to the Jockey club that an immediate change of management structure takes place to ensure Carlisle is steered in the right direction. Oh and all female riders is not good for racing, sorry ladies!

Posted by Mark on 22 August 2012 at 12:26

How frustrating too read this, Carlisle Racecourse do a fantastic job every meeting, if these 5500 "women" came to a few more race meetings they would know exactly how full the bars get and what facilities Carlisle have to offer. This is the only meeting i do not attend to stand behind tantastic giggley women putting their £1 bets on... Queues at the bar they will have only been buying lemonade and ice to mix with their own drinks they smuggled in. if you dont like what Carlisle have to offer STAY AT HOME and leave it to the professional race goers!!!! Rant Over

Posted by Julie on 21 August 2012 at 05:51

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