Over the years we have won and been shortlisted for many prestigious awards and accolades. As a small racecourse based in North Yorkshire, we take great pride in our events, site and the customer experience; we’re proud to be recognised for all of our hard work. See just some of our awards and accolades below. 

Ripon retains place in top 12 with Club Dining Room awarded excellence accolade! Ripon's Club Dining Room

The Racecourse Association (RCA) is delighted to announce that the quality of the visitor experience across Great Britain’s racecourses is higher than ever before as assessed independently by VisitEngland and VisitScotland through the annual Quality Assured Racecourse Scheme.

The Quality Assured Racecourse Assessment objectively assesses the visitor experience of a day at the races. Encompassing all aspects of the raceday, from pre-raceday telephone calls and social media audits to the racecourse itself and the quality and cleanliness of facilities, an experienced assessor conducts the assessment during a ‘mystery shop’ visit.

VisitScotland issue Scottish racecourses with a star rating and Marque, whilst VisitEngland provides English and Welsh racecourses with a Quality Marque (licenced by VisitEngland) for racecourses reaching the pass mark of 60%, which equates to ‘good’.

A record 34 racecourses were awarded a score of 80% or higher which equates to ‘excellent’ while once more every single racecourse achieved a rating of ‘good’ or better with the lowest scoring mark in 2017 being 68%, the highest it has ever been since the scheme was launched in 2012.

This year the top 12 racecourses in England & Wales (in alphabetical order) were:

Aintree, Ascot, Bangor-on-Dee, Beverley, Cheltenham, Chester, Haydock Park, Newbury, Newmarket July, Ripon, Uttoxeter and York.

Paul Swain, RCA Brand & Experience Manager, said: “It is fantastic to see the racecourse experience continue to improve across the board at all racecourses in 2017. It is testament to the level of investment that racecourses have made in facilities and staff training that we are seeing the higher levels of quality in terms of customer experience than ever before.

“Through the Raceday Experience Programme, Showcase & Awards, and our dedicated ‘Year of Service’ workstream we have been able to provide racecourses with the tools and examples of best practice to help them match the very finest customer experiences available in the sport and leisure market.

“Racecourses have sustained this drive for improvement and we’re committed to supporting them to continue to raise the bar.”

In addition to the general assessment there were Excellence Accolades for racecourses that recorded outstanding scores in specific areas of the assessment. These were awarded at the 2017 Showcase & Awards as follows:

Lovely Loos

Musselburgh, York

Visitor Information & Signage

Aintree, Ascot, Chepstow, Chester, Huntingdon, Musselburgh (Scotland), Newbury (England), Royal Windsor, Uttoxeter

Quality Café/Restaurant

Musselburgh—Café 1816, Ripon—Club Dining Room

Fast Food Outlet

York—Knavesmire Court

Staff Customer Service

Aintree, Bangor-on-Dee, Beverley, Chelmsford City, Cheltenham, Newbury, York

Managing Director at Ripon Racecourse, James Hutchinson, said:

“We are delighted to retain our place in the top 12 and for the Club Dining Room to win the excellence accolade for the third consecutive year is a terrific achievement. A big well done to all the staff involved both here at the Racecourse and at CGC Event Caterers.”

Ripon Inaugural winners of ROA ‘Most Improved Small Racecourse’ Award.

Ripon Racecourse has been awarded ‘Most Improved Small Racecourse of the year 2017 at the annual ROA Horseracing Awards. In 2017 there were two new awards, the ‘Most Improved Large Racecourse’ and ‘Most Improved Small Racecourse’.

ROA Chief Executive, Charlie Liverton, said:

“The experience that an owner receives at a racecourse is one of the most important aspects affecting the enjoyment of racehorse ownership.

“This award is to shine the light on two racecourses from each category who have made significant changes to the owners’ experience. The ROA extends its sincere thanks and congratulations to Aintree and Ripon respectively, for continuing to enhance the race day experience.”

Managing Director at Ripon Racecourse, James Hutchinson, said:

“It is very pleasing that our new Owners and Trainers facility has been recognised and we are delighted to win this award. I would also like to extend our gratitude to the designers and building team.

“We look forward to warmly welcoming Owners and Trainers when our season begins in April and we will endeavour to continue to improve the race day experience throughout 2018 and beyond.”

Ripon named in top 11 Racecourses by Visit England as part of annual scheme – March 2017


Ripon Racecourse is celebrating after retaining their place amongst the top eleven racecourses in the country as part of the VisitEngland Quality Assured Racecourse Scheme.

The scheme allows VisitEngland to benchmark racecourses against other attractions, ensuring that standards of customer experience remain high in the face of competition from other sporting and leisure venues.

The national tourism boards provide a rating on the racecourse as a quality day out, taking into account efficiency and friendliness of customer service, cleanliness of facilities as well as speed, quality and efficiency of the racecourse operation.

Collaborating with VisitEngland allows racecourses to benchmark against other attractions, ensuring that standards of customer experience remain high in the face of such competition.

The top eleven in England and Wales for 2016 (listed alphabetically) were: Aintree, Ascot, Cheltenham, Chester, Doncaster, Haydock Park, Newbury, Ripon, Sedgefield, Wetherby and York.

You can read the full RCA press release here

Sir Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said:

“Horse racing is part of the lifeblood of Yorkshire – with more racecourses than any other region of the UK, nowhere is as passionate about horse racing as Yorkshire.  “The county is synonymous with the sport of the kings so it comes as no surprise that four of our nine top class courses have been named in the top 11 in the country. “I’d like to congratulate those at Ripon for their hard work in making Yorkshire one of the best places in the country to watch top class horse racing.”

RCA Chief Executive Stephen Atkin said:

“Our partnership with both tourism boards gives added assurance to customers whenever they visit a racecourse. The results show that racecourses large and small can all compete on the same level when it comes to quality and that is one of the unique attractions of British racing.”

Managing Director at Ripon Racecourse, James Hutchinson, said:

“We are thrilled to have retained both our status within the top 11 and the excellence accolade for our Club Dining. For our restaurant to have to have been to be singled out and voted the best in the country by the likes of VisitEngland is incredible.”

James Hutchinson, Managing Director & Clerk of the Course commented, “Back to back wins of this award is a real credit to the work put in by all the team at Ripon and gives us a target to continue aspiring to.”

The Racegoers Club – Ripon crowned as Best Small Racecourse in Northern England – March 2016

Ripon Racecourse is proud to announce it has retained its crown as ‘Best Small Racecourse in Northern England’

Team Ripon with Will Aikenhead from the RCA

Team Ripon with Will Aikenhead from the RCA

once again for 2015. After being awarded the title in 1996, 2003, 2009, 2011 & 2014, Yorkshire’s Garden Racecourse is the first racecourse in the ‘Small North’ category to win the award in back to back years.

These prestigious awards are always eagerly anticipated by the racecourses. With the Club’s 5,000 strong membership going racing on average over 30 times per year, and travelling far and wide thanks to the Club’s extensive concession scheme and comprehensive diary of social events, no-one is better qualified to reward the worthy national and regional winners.

James Hutchinson, Managing Director & Clerk of the Course commented, “Back to back wins of this award is a real credit to the work put in by all the team at Ripon and gives us a target to continue aspiring to.”

RCA Showcase – Special Merit Groundsman Award – November 2015


Head Groundsman Carl Tonks recieves the IOG award from Bill Watt on behalf of his team.

We are thrilled to have been notified that Carl and his team have been given a Special Merit award by sponsors Watt Fences and at this years RCA Showcase awards.

The award which is given at the discretion of the sponsors is in recognition of the exceptional circumstances and wy the team at Ripon have pulled together in light of Head Groundsman Carl Tonks recent illness. The award which will not be officially presented until our 2016 raceday credits the hard work and team spirit that Carl has encouraged throughout his staff.

Well done lads!

RCA Showcase Award Finalist – #RiponAlice – November 2015

IMG_0218Our #RiponAlice entry has been nominated in the Racing Together Community & Corporate Social Responsibility category at the 2015 RCA Showcase Awards, celebrating excellence and innovation on Britain’s racecourses which takes place at Ascot Racecourse on Thursday 12 November.

Family racedays are a big part of Ripon’s racing calendar and due to the vagaries of the construction of the 2015 fixture list, their traditional two-day fixture of the Bank Holiday was split; resulting in a new stand-alone fixture on Tuesday 18th August.

Ripon capitalised on this by introducing a new family day in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the much loved classic story, ‘Alice in Wonderland – a story very close to Ripon’s heart. Author Lewis Carroll spent many of his teenage years in Ripon whilst his father worked as a Canon at Ripon Cathedral. The city shares many close links with the story such as the mystical gypsum holes that Ripon is so well known for and carvings of white rabbits and hares in the cathedral to name a few. Historians believe these links were influential to Carroll when writing the creative and mystical story.

Working with local community groups, libraries and schools the racecourse set up local community group called #RiponAlice and started a campaign to involve local resources and help bring the community together to celebrate the anniversary and help educate locals and children of the connections. The day was the primary event in the cities celebrations and played a fantastic role in educating the young racegoers, even teaming up with a local theatre production group. One lucky racegoer even saw their design on the front of the racecard in their ‘design the racecard’ competition and the day was a fantastic example of working with the community in educating the next generation of racegoers at Ripon.

Click here to see our entry and view all finalists entries

Erin Boswell, Marketing Executive said: “We are thrilled to have been shortlisted for the award which holds such great recognition within the Horse Racing industry. Being able to involve the local community in celebrating the anniversary and share the proud heritage was something we are really proud of. It’s certainly set the foundations for some great community working relationships for the future”


Visitor Attraction Gold Award – 2015 Yorkshire in Bloom

We are thrilled to have been awarded once again with a ‘Visitor Attraction Gold Award’ from Yorkshire in Bloom at the 2015 awards in Harrogate. The consistancy of Head Groundsman Carl Tonk’s and his teams efforts have once again proved worthy of this highly acclaimed award within the Yorkshire community.

Well done team Ripon!

Ripon regains its crown as “Best Small Racecourse in the North – February 2015


Ripon Racecourse is proud to announce it has regained its crown as ‘Best Small Racecourse in the North’. After also being awarded the title in 1996, 2003, 2009 & 2011, Yorkshire’s Garden Racecourse is delighted to add 2014 to their tally.

This year’s award follows substantial maintenance and refurbishment work which has seen Ripon invest in various new bar facilities and the introduction of their own on-course betting operator ‘RiponBET’. The 2015 season which starts with an afternoon of racing on Thursday 16th April, will see the introduction of three new hospitality rooms due to increased demand. The Board of Directors is committed to continuing investment to keep building on the great quality racing and functionality of the racecourse.

James Hutchinson, Managing Director & Clerk of the Course commented, “We are thrilled to be bringing the title back to Ripon. We pride ourselves on trying not only to meet, but also to exceed our customers’ expectations. We have another exciting summer of racing ahead and this is a fantastic way to start our season”

Bill Bailey, Marketing Executive of The Racegoers club commented, “We are delighted to name Ripon our Best Small Racecourse in the North. The friendly staff at Ripon have done a wonderful job delivering excellent facilities that our members regularly praise. It’s a beautiful setting and the easy access to the parade ring and viewing areas make a day out at Ripon a pleasure. I’m sure our members will continue to visit regularly and we would encourage others to do so too, it’s a fantastic day out.”

IOG John Deere Professional Horse Racing Grounds Team of the Year – December 2014


We are extremely proud of Carl and his team for successfully making the final two of the IOG John Deere Professional Horse Racing Grounds Team of the Year. Both flying the flag for Yorkshire, the team sadly lost out to York Racecourse who took the prestigious award.

This team award highlights the very best sports turf management at a horseracing venue.  The winning team should mostly be paid on a full-time basis at the course. It is open to all venues that host events with paying spectators attending

Erin Boswell, Marketing Executive of Ripon Racecourse said “It’s a fantastic achievement for Carl and his team to have not only made the shortlist but the top two of these awards. Working in one of the smallest teams in the industry, Carl and his team work hard all year round to make our Racecourse such a beautiful place and we stand proud to be one of the most consistent turf tracks around”

RCA Showcase Award Finalist – The Great War Remembered – November 2014


We are extremely proud to have been nominated as a finalist for the third consecutive year at the annual RCA Showcase awards. The awards celebrate innovations and marketing within racing and to have been shortlisted again is a great honour.

This year’s entry was once again in a very competitive category and congratulations to Cartmel Racecourse who were awarded their first Showcase award.

Our entry this year was focused around the community raceday put together in commemoration of the 100 year anniversary of the First World War. Our entry can be viewed at

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