THE new head of one of the UK’s most unique racecourses has pledged horse
racing will continue to be its central focus as she takes the reins.
Geraldine McKay is announced as the manager of Cartmel Racecourse, in
Cumbria, where she will build upon a host of recent improvements secured by its
owner, the Holker Group.
Mrs McKay explained horse racing itself was central to her vision for the course in
order to protect its magical atmosphere and esteemed heritage.
“This is a very special role and one I’m thrilled to be taking forward,” she said.
“There’s something very different and unique about Cartmel - it’s a one off - and
the heritage and tradition of racing here is something I’m keen to protect.
“Horse racing is the beating heart of Cartmel and will remain so. It provides
fantastic opportunities in northern jump racing for owners and trainers based
across the region and further afield.
“Everyone loves coming to this course. People talk about coming here - whether
that’s to bring a horse, because they love racing or simply to enjoy a wonderful
social event with family and friends.
“I want to enhance that experience for all of our racegoers and ensure they
continue to enjoy a magical day out.”
Mrs McKay previously spent more than four years at the helm of Jockey Club-
owned Carlisle Racecourse where she secured a raft of improvements and
increased ticket sales.
Her tenure included overseeing the highest attendance for a music event when
artist Jess Glynne performed on site in 2017.
She was also instrumental in the introduction of the Northern Lights racing series
at Carlisle as well as the development of the UK’s only all female jockey’s fixture.
Since leaving in 2018 Mrs McKay has run her own business, working to help
promote and develop firms throughout Cumbria.
Citing her passion for the horse racing industry - in particular the chance to
introduce young people to the sport - as the driver for her move to Cartmel
Racecourse, she added: “I have really enjoyed my time working with businesses
over the past year-and-a-half.
“But the opportunity to lead the team here at Cartmel, a fantastic independent
course in Cumbria, was just too good to miss.”
Mrs McKay, who will relocate from Cockermouth to Cartmel in the coming weeks,
will be at the helm for the course’s two-day meeting on Saturday 24 and Bank
Holiday Monday 26 August.
She steps into the role following the departure of Holker Racing and Leisure
managing director Steve Cooper last month.
Mr Cooper had overseen the refurbishment of Cartmel’s Grandstand, Louis
Roederer Restaurant and stables complex, as well as the launch of Rogan & Co at
the Races, a new premier hospitality offering, during his 18 months in post.
Holker Group chief executive Allen Gibb said he was delighted to have secured
the services of someone of Mrs McKay’s calibre and expertise.
“Geraldine has a wealth of experience not only in the racing industry, but in
working to bring out the very best in high profile businesses.”
He added: “Geraldine’s enthusiasm is infectious and we look forward to working
with her as she puts into place her vision for Cartmel - to preserve its very special
character, keep horse racing at its heart and develop the experience of an
unsurpassed day out at this course for our owners, trainers, jockeys and