Work is well under way to provide new, larger bedrooms with en-suite facilities for stable staff who stay overnight when travelling to Pontefract with runners from all over the country.
Existing ‘adjoining’ rooms have been knocked through and a shower room created in part of the additional space with the result that there will be 11 modern, comfortable rooms in the main accommodation block together with separate male and female day changing facilities.
Phase one of the scheme will be ready in time for the opening meeting of the season on Tuesday, April 5 while a further five rooms will be created in the hostel area above the canteen during the course of the season.
As part of an overhaul of their current arrangements, Pontefract has also announced that they will be providing a complimentary meal for stable staff visiting Pontefract on racedays.
Stable staff will receive a voucher entitling them to a complimentary hot breakfast roll and lunchtime or evening meal up to a set value from a healthy and varied menu, covering hot and cold food as they prefer. Free teas and coffees will also continue to be made available. Any additional items available to purchase will be priced competitively.
A new catering company will be running the stables canteen for race meetings from May onwards and stable staff will receive complimentary wood fired pizzas, salads, sandwiches and light refreshments for the track’s first three race meetings of the season in April.
Chief operating officer Richard Hammill said: ‘We are acutely aware of the exceptionally hard working stable staff who go racing every day, work unsociable hours and spend a huge amount of time on the road or away from home.
"Amid the rising costs of fuel and food and drink, we are delighted to be able to provide both complimentary food and accommodation to the standard that anyone working away would expect to receive."
In addition to the new arrangements in the hostel and the canteen, new green running rail has been installed on the walk between the stables and the racecourse.
Managing Director, Norman Gundill MBE explained: ‘We know that the open spaces on the walk from the stable yard to the racecourse can be daunting for stable staff who are handling young horses. With the permission of Wakefield Council, we have installed green railing on the hill behind the racecourse so that stable staff can have better control of their horses when walking to the track."
For more information please view the course’s website at www.pontefract-races.co.uk or call the administration offices on 01977 781307.