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23rd - 24th September 2023

EXCITING DEVELOPMENTS FOR THE HENRY CECIL OPEN WEEKEND IN 2024

The Henry Cecil Open Weekend committee are delighted to announce that the 2024 event will support the newly formed Newmarket Housing Trust as the main charity beneficiary. Racing Welfare, a long-standing charity partner, will continue to be supported by the Open Weekend.

The Henry Cecil Open Weekend will engage a revised format in 2024 with all Newmarket trainers having been split into two groups and yards set to open on a bi-annual basis. The response has been incredibly positive with twenty-four yards open to the public this year including John and Thady Gosden, Sir Mark Prescott, Simon and Ed Crisford, Michael Bell and Charlie Fellowes amongst others. Trainers including William Haggas and Roger Varian will open their facilities in 2025. As a result of the revised format of the event, a host of yards who previously had not opened during the weekend, will feature amongst the list of yards that visitors can look around.

The annual event held in Newmarket in late September offers visitors the rare opportunity to go behind the scenes at British horseracing’s headquarters. Showcasing all Newmarket has to offer, the weekend provides invaluable insight into all aspects of the horseracing industry whilst raising vital funds for deserving charities. Not only do visitors have the unique opportunity to go behind the scenes at trainers’ yards, but several sites across the town will also be open for the public to explore, including: The National Stud, Injured Jockeys Fund Peter O’Sullevan House, British Racing School, Jockey Club Rooms, National Horseracing Museum, Tattersalls Bloodstock Auctioneers and Rossdales Veterinary Hospital.

An action-packed Sunday afternoon of events on The Severals featuring a Shetland Pony Grand National, Parade of Retired Racehorses sponsored by Al Shaqab, dog show and racing personality show jumping competition, completes the family friendly weekend.  The 2023 Henry Cecil Open Weekend raised over £53,000 for Racing Welfare, local charity Newmarket Open Door and the British Racing School who last year celebrated their 40th anniversary.

For the first time in 2024, the Henry Cecil Open Weekend, taking place on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd September, will support the Newmarket Housing Trust. This new project, run by the Newmarket Trainers Group, will create a portfolio of accommodation for racing staff. Initially it will see the creation of a Halls of Residence consisting of 20-25 bed spaces for racing staff aged 16-18 years old, located at The British Racing School. Over time a collection of flats and houses will be acquired to meet the housing needs of 16–18-year-olds, 18-early 20s, couples and older people without children and families who work in the racing industry in Newmarket.

The Henry Cecil Open Weekend are thrilled to announce a three-year sponsorship agreement with both Juddmonte and the Niarchos family. Both generous sponsorships are particularly poignant as Sir Henry Cecil, the legendary trainer after whom the Open Weekend is named in his memory, trained Juddmonte’s champion sire Frankel to ten Group 1 victories. The Niarchos family were long-term allies of Sir Henry Cecil, enjoying Classic success in the 2007 Oaks with Light Shift.

Charlie Fellowes, Chairman of the Henry Cecil Open Weekend, commented: “I am incredibly proud to Chair the Henry Cecil Open Weekend and to see first-hand the contribution the event has made to Newmarket. As an industry we must showcase all the fantastic elements of our sport and the event is a unique opportunity to welcome new visitors and give them exclusive behind the scenes access. As a trainer, we are on the Newmarket Heath every day and it is fantastic that the funds raised by the event have been able to fund the mobile treatment room which is welcomed by all. All trainers in Newmarket are acutely aware of the need for accommodation for racing staff who work tirelessly behind the scenes. It is fantastic that the Open Weekend can directly support the core staff who are the backbone of our industry through contributing to improving the housing provision across the town through the Newmarket Housing Trust. My thanks must go to all the sponsors, partners, trainers and equine sites who support the event and a special thanks to both Juddmonte and the Niarchos family for their continued support, all without whom the event would not be possible.”

Douglas Erskine Crum, Chief Executive at Juddmonte, said: “Juddmonte is incredibly supportive of The Henry Cecil Open Weekend, and we are delighted to continue our sponsorship of the event. The weekend not only celebrates the life of the much-missed Sir Henry Cecil but is a fantastic opportunity for the sport to showcase itself to the wider communities. We are very proud to support the event and all the vital funds it raises for charities and our thanks go to all Newmarket based trainers for getting behind the event. We are in a critical time within the industry to broaden the appeal of horseracing and create new racing fans and this weekend enables us to do just that.”

Alan Cooper, Racing Manager to the Niarchos Family, commented: “We are proud to sponsor the Henry Cecil Open Weekend, named in memory of a great friend who provided the Niarchos family with a Classic victory in 2007.  This is a wonderful and unique opportunity for the general public to go and meet the equine stars of our sport and gain an insight into how and where they are trained. It is fantastic weekend to make the sport more accessible and reach a wider audience and it’s great to see all of Newmarket’s trainers opening their yards to help raise a significant amount of money for charity.”

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