New track at Carlisle Racecourse to be named after groundsman

Press Releasein Equestrian

Tony Wootten is already an institution at Carlisle Racecourse. Now he is about to be immortalised.

The 68-year-old has been groundsman at the Durdar tracks for almost a quarter of a century, painstakingly making it fit for every meeting.

He has made his mark on the course - and from next week part of it really will be his.

A new £1.5 million hurdles track about to be opened is being named after Tony after he was promised the honour by his boss in front of millions of television viewers.

It is the latest stage in a string of major investments by its owners, The Jockey Club.

The mile-and-a-half long Wootten Course will be used for the first time when the National Hunt season starts on Friday.

Tony will officially open the track at the seven-race jumps meeting, which also marks the 24th anniversary of when he started work at the racecourse.

He said: "It is a great honour to have the new track named after me. It is something you don't think would ever happen, especially just as an ordinary worker like myself. Obviously they think I have done a good job."

The groundsman was told the hurdles track would be name in respect of his loyal service when he met Jockey Club group managing director Paul Fisher, who was impressed with Tony's dedication.

Then, the executive was undercover posing as a casual employee as part of Channel 4's Undercover Boss programme.

Tony, who was born in Cockermouth and brought up in Wigton, added: "I was gobsmacked when Mr Fisher told me he'd like to name the new hurdles track after me. You don't expect anything like that. I love Carlisle Racecourse. I treat it as my own - the care and attention I have put into it in all weather with the whole team here."

Tony is in charge of a team of three full-time and three casual ground staff at the racecourse.

See the rest of the article on the following link:-The Cumberland News

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