CHELTENHAM racecourse plans to build a new grandstand complete with an upgraded royal box in a £45m makeover of the venue, home to one of the most prestigious festivals in jump racing, its owners said today.
The new grandstand, with capacity for 6,500 spectators, will replace a smaller 1920s block where private boxes including the one for the royals are located.
The Jockey Club, which has owned and operated the track in western England since 1964, said the investment was its biggest in any of its racecourses. The existing grandstand will be modernised as part of the work, scheduled for completion by 2016.
Held in March every year, the four-day Cheltenham Festival is one of the highlights of the jump racing season. It attracted aggregate crowds of more than 235,000 earlier this month.
Subject to planning permission, work will begin after next year's festival and the course will remain open for its normal racing programme during the improvements.
Jockey Club Racecourse group managing director Paul Fisher said: "Cheltenham is not only one of the Jockey Club's crown jewels, we recognise it is the home of jump racing and one of the great theatres in British sport.
"It is vital we continue to invest in its appeal, the experience it offers and its success, for the good of British racing."