Horse racing: A magnificent seven for Ayr

Ayr has been voted Racecourse of the Year 2010 for Scotland and the North East by The Racegoers Club - the seventh consecutive year the Craigie track has won the coveted award.

Ayr's run of success began back in 2004, the first full year current owners Alan Macdonald and Richard Johnstone were in charge, and Scotland's biggest racecourse has won the award every year since.

Major improvements have taken place at the track over the past seven years including the new 4.5 million Ayrshire Suite, the introduction of new fine dining restaurants including the Roman Warrior and the Chancellor Carvery, and a revamp of the parade ring and winner's enclosure.

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The honour from The Racegoers Club is highly valued by the team at Ayr as it comes from a Club whose 6,500 members are all active racegoers. Ayr has now won the award 17 times since 1990.

Lindsey Smith, sales and marketing manager at Ayr, said: "We are so pleased to have won this award which underlines our status as one of the top racecourses in the UK. To have won the award seven times is a great feather in our cap and we thank everyone at the Racegoer's Club for voting for us."

Meanwhile, Cheltenham's executive believe they may have ridden out the worst of the cold weather and give this weekend's International meeting every chance of going ahead.

The two-day fixture starts on Friday and the chase and hurdles courses have been covered over since Sunday with both tracks currently rated as good.

The cross country course, which is partly covered, is good, good to firm and frozen in places.

Simon Claisse, Cheltenham's clerk of the course and director of racing, said: "The chase and hurdle course is currently in a raceable condition beneath the covers, although we couldn't actually race today as the temperature is currently minus 6C.

"The forecast minus 4C or 5C over the next few days should prove no problem. With the current forecast predicting a distinct temperature rise on Friday and Saturday, we remain very optimistic about the International going ahead."