Huntingdon Racecourse grounds team win top British award

A thrilling finish to the 32Red Casino Handicap Hurdle at Huntingdon Racecourse on Tuesday, won by I

A thrilling finish to the 32Red Casino Handicap Hurdle at Huntingdon Racecourse on Tuesday, won by Isaac Bell for jockey Noel Fehily (centre). Picture: HELEN DRAKE. - Credit: Archant

The grounds team at Huntingdon Racecourse are the best in Britain among tracks devoted to jump racing.

The team of made up of Gabriel Gruia, Gary Stonnell, Sam Butler-Spelzini, and Keith Pike, who work with Clerk of the Course Sulekha Varma, won the jump category of the 2015 Racecourse Groundstaff Awards.

The annual awards, held in association with Pitchcare and Watt Fences, celebrate the hard work and dedication of grounds teams who maintain and develop the racing surface.

Huntingdon’s sister racecourse in The Jockey Club, Sandown Park in Esher, won the dual-purpose category while York took the away for Flat tracks.

One of the three racecourse teams will be chosen as the overall winner at the Racecourse Association’s Showcase Awards on November 12 at Ascot Racecourse.


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In Britain, there are 23 jump racecourses, 19 Flat tracks and 17 dual purpose venues.

Huntingdon Racecourse general manager Sian Williams said: “I am absolutely thrilled for the ground staff team who are completely dedicated to helping provide the best possible racing surface for horses.

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“Racehorse trainers love Huntingdon Racecourse and that means we see some of the best horses racing here which is great for our spectators.”

The Racecourse is entering a busy spell of action with four more meetings pencilled in for the remainder of 2015. The biggest of those is Betfred Peterborough Chase Day on December 6.

Huntingdon staged a six-race card on Tuesday when Cayman Islands, trained by John Ferguson at Newmarket and ridden by his son Alex, won the feature Weatherbys Hamilton Chase over two-and-a-half miles.

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