By Daithi Harvey
Ahead of the 2018 Royal Meeting Ascot Racecourse has released an impressive set of financial figures for the year that ended in December 2017. A 6.7% increase in turnover yielded a pretax profit of £6.2 million, up over £1.1 million on the previous year, while the successful trading year also lead to debt being reduced by almost £11 million to just under £60 million, with the track on target to be debt free by 2023. Around 300,000 racegoers attend Royal Ascot every year, about half of the total annual attendance of the track and by the end of this year at Ascot, horses will have competed for a total prize-money pool of £13.45 million, up 10% on last year.
Commenting on the business performance and on future plans, Ascot chief executive Guy Henderson said, “2017 was another year of progress in our financial performance, with Royal Ascot performing particularly well. The opening of the new Village Enclosure on the inside of the track, in which we have further invested, was positively received and has generated strong sales for 2018.”
He continued, “Operational improvement and site maintenance remained a key focus for us last year and that continues to be the case. We have just embarked on an extensive 10-year Planned Preventative Maintenance project, it now being 12 years since our £220 million redevelopment, under which mainly through our P&L we will be investing around an additional £2 million per annum into maintaining our core racecourse facilities. We are delighted that the Hong Kong Jockey Club will be simulcasting a fourth day of Royal Ascot this year and look forward to the launch of Bet With Ascot, our pool betting operation, in partnership with Totepool, in July. We thank all our partners, sponsors, customers and staff for their continued support in delivering another year of improvement all round.”