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NH HQ – My Arse!

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  • #4279
    • Total Posts 369

    Sorry in advance for the really long post but this is the shortest I feel I can make it, just to highlight how absolutely useless Cheltenham racecourse staff are, with clear incompetence to the level where Frank Spencer and Basil Faulty would be promoted to Managing Directors if they worked for this company!

    What should have been one of the best experiences in the very first year of our syndicate was almost ruined by the so-called NH HQ staff or even more laughable ‘racecourse of year’! You see realisticially we are not going to have a runner in the festivial and January 1st at Cheltenham was to be ‘our very own festival’ albeit with a 50/1 outsider, but it was still an exciting time for all involved to actually have a runner at Cheltenham.

    Racecourses on average give us 8 free Owners & Trainers badges then 8 at half price which is usually more than enough and everybody is happy, with Nottingham being the worst course thus far with a maximum allowance of 6 O+T badges free and any others at full price, Leicester & Wolverhampton being the most generous with 10 free & 10 at half price, but Cheltenham achieved new depths of tightness with an adamant 4 maximum only!! I argued this point with the woman in charge of O+T badges where she said she’d need to talk to the clerk of the course before approving anymore and would get back to me asap, this conversation was as soon as the final declarations were made on New Years Eve morning (the day before our race). I waited until 5.30pm for a call so I then decided to phone her only to be told that she had gone home, so I explained the situation to the man where on the spot he agreed straight away to 8 free O+T badges with the rest at full price – fair enough I thought after all it’s Cheltenham! I emailed the list to Cheltenham of the named members stating which ones were free & which ones to invoice me for which is usual practice. 20 minutes from arriving at Cheltenham (11.30am, 1.5 hours prior to racing and 24 hours after putting in the orginal request) this woman that did not return my call the day before, finally decided to respond to me with absolutely no knowledge of what had been agreed, so for the third time I explained! This lady was clearly not happy about the fact somebody actually did her job in her absence (and did it better) and from this moment on was very snooty towards me although I think it now just boils down to sheer incompetence and Cheltenham staff’s attitude of being inferiour. I read out all the names after they had lost my email and said please put these behind the O+T desk so the members could just pick up their badges and invoice me for the ones at full price, ‘we don’t operate that policy’ she said! A company that does not invoice another company is standard practice I thought and a policy I do with all other racecourses as it makes life easier for all involved. Odd I thought but I then said ‘can I pay for the extra O+T badges by credit card and you put them behind the counter?’, ‘yes, but you’ll have to do it at the desk’ she added. As I was only now about 15 minutes away I thought at least I’ll be there first and sort all the tickets out before the members arrive so they get treated like owners when they arrive, and won’t be inconvienced.

    Arrived at the O+T desk and explained I needed to purchase extra O+T badges and they sent me to another desk as that particular desk did not take money, over I went and explained the same where again I was meet by confused looks ‘you can’t buy owners and trainers badges here sir!’, back to the O+T desk – explained and they said ‘oh no you can’t BUY O+T badges you can only buy Tatterstall tickets there’. Very reluctantly I asked to speak to the lady who had been very snooty with me on the phone minutes earlier and she eventually appeared about 10 minutes later and explained ‘you have to buy Tatt tickets and upgrade them in the weighing room’. So at this point I realise I’m stuffed as I can’t wait at all the entrances until each member comes in to buy their badge then take them down to the weighing room one by one so I have to phone all who were relying on a badge being there to explain they will have to purchase their own ticket and phone me when in the course as I’m the only one who had an O+T to get into the weighing room! A bit annoyed of the time wasted so far and that all this could have been explained prior to arriving at Cheltenham I made several phone calls to the members and then finally went into the course 40 minutes after arriving! Shortly after getting into the course 2 arrived together and we went to the weighing room and I explained the desk said upgrade them here, several bemused looks and questioning members of staff we were greeted by in the weighing room and there they come to the collective conclusion that they were talking rubbish at the O+T desk and we should go back up there as they have advised us wrongly. We went back up the O+T desk where I started to lose patience and snap a little which was meet by condsending looks from Cheltenham’s staff – They insisted I go back to the weighing room and gave us 2 contact names this time which would have been a good idea first time! Down we go just before the first race and back to the weighing-in room where we explained what they had said and who we need – neither contacts could be found and the orginal woman whose job is was to organise our tickets (the snooty one) was called over, whereby she produced a handful of O+T badges giving 2 to the members – this is the woman who had sent us all over Cheltenham, back and forth, desk to weighing room and she had the bloody badges from the start!!! Then the other 3 came and went to the weighing room to upgrade their tickets and after she had handed their badges over she looked down her nose and said really snooty ‘that’s it now you’ve had them all!’. I had to leave asap otherwise there would have been a scene in the weighing room as I had had my bellyfull of this particular woman and her fellow incompetent employees.

    To make matters worse there were 2 jobsworth pensioners on the door in the O+T bar stopping our members going in saying ‘you are only allowed 4 in at any one time’ which was the moment I snapped and started to give him a peice of my mind but unfortunately quite early he caved in and let the syndicate members into the half empty bar. By the time everybody had got their tickets and we finally got all together was nearly 2 hours after I arrived, having been sent from top to bottom of Cheltenham racecourse several times and had our hourse ran in one of the first 2 races we would have missed it!

    Despite Cheltenham’s incompetence, superiority complexes, and their very best efforts to spoil what should have been a great memorable day, they failed as it was a great experience, despite them.

    Sharon Long
    • Total Posts 8

    What an awful experience to go through!!

    I bet you were chewed up enough  thinking about the race without  having to go through all that hassle .

    When you,ve cooled down a bit ,why not write the Lord Vesty or E.Gillespie  and complain about your treatment? I would. After all ,its only the cost of a stamp, and you might get some recompense or even complimentary tickets for your trouble. At least you could get it off your chest .

    • Total Posts 3

    Part of my job involves dealing with racecourses and organising complimentary badges. Some racecourses are certainly more competent than others.

    I have come to the conclusion that the best way to deal with racecourses is by fax. Even if you have verbally agreed something, confirm it in writing – which to be fair you did by sending an email.

    The advantage to sending a fax, though, is that most fax machines have a function which allows you to print out a record of transmissions sent and whether they were successful (on my machine it is called a ‘journal’). If the recipient then claims they never received it, you can prove that they did in a way that you can’t do with an email. (even if you request a receipt with your email, they can refuse your request)

    I do this as a matter of course when dealing with anyone I think is going to be inefficient – utility companies, the council and, yes, racecourses. You are not the first to notice that Cheltenham seem to be getting increasingly off-hand. I wonder if a touch of the arrogance that Ascot’s officials are famous for is creeping in as their position at the top of their code becomes ever more fixed.

    • Total Posts 486

    What a horrible experience that must have been – they really know how to ruin the delights of ownership.

    From purely a spectating point of view, racecourse "officials" and "security" drive me mad when I simply try and walk round the racecourse, or into a food bar, or anywhere, but that’s another matter.

    Write to the Racing Post and publicly complain but whatever you choose to do DL, make a good fuss about it as it needs addressing to probably more than one racecourse.

    Racing Daily
    • Total Posts 1364

    I have come to the conclusion (from experience of several visits to Prestbury Park) that they consider themselves a little higher up the ladder at Cheltenham than at other ‘layman’ tracks.  Herd ’em in, charge as much as you can get away with, and provide minimal amenities for the day tripper.<br>There will come a time when I say "sod the Festival, it’s less hassle to stay at home and watch ATR".  Ticket prices (you can’t even buy tickets on the gate in March now) have rocketed in the last few years, and it now costs a score to get into the Fosters enclosure.  Tout prices are normally around 50% higher.  And there are loads of touted tickets available, contrary to what Cheltenham say.  Are they really catering for the punter, or just for the Bollinger and Moet brigade?

    • Total Posts 46

    Hiya donks,<br> By the sound of it you had more patience than I would have had.Basically I would do what Sharon says and write to Eddie Gillespie and see what happens.I would’nt let it rest, making a fuss is good,plus it may make you feel better.Send in a letter to the RP as well.

    Shame you had to endure this and hope it wont put you off future visits to the track or any track for that matter..

    • Total Posts 201

    I noticed that the chap on the door of the weighing room (who was really quite nice compared to the rest of them), was badged as a "raceday casual", and he clearly didn’t have a clue what was going on – and he was in charge of access to the weighing room! Once we’d been handed the badges he said "well, at least we’ll know for the next time". Unbelievable that "racecourse of the year" doesn’t employ staff who know what the procedures are.

    I dread to think what would happen if something serious had to be organised.

    The woman who finally handed us the badges was a grade A snooty madam.

    I certainally won’t ever consider going to the festival – a beautiful course ruined by the idiots in charge.

    DL, I didn’t know about the 4 in the bar at any one time business – crikey I’m suprised you didn’t deck them – I wonder if that is official cheltenham line, or they were another pair who didn’t know the rules?<br>

    • Total Posts 327

    Daylight……..its certainly a racing post letter job although you will need to trim the story or take out a full page ad (lol).

    Kick up a fuss and don’t let it die without some satisfaction.

    ps…….If that had happened to me i would have flipped and probably spent the next day in front of the local magistrate!!

    (Edited by Tony25 at 8:31 pm on Jan. 3, 2003)

    Grey Desire
    • Total Posts 1912

    And no complimentary racecards either:angry:

    Racing Daily
    • Total Posts 1364

    If it were not for the owners, there would be no racing.  They should treat you like you mean something.<br>Write to the RP, or even e-mail ATR.  I’m sure they would address the issue.

    Boggles Back
    • Total Posts 14

    What a world away from racing elsewhere in the world. Im in New Zealand at the mo and went to the Waikato Times GOld Cup at Te Rapa racecourse on their biggest racemeeting of the year a couple of weeks ago. Free to get in, 26 degree sunshine, and a quid for a beer. Great stuff. Plus anyone can go into the owners enclosure ‘clothing permitting’ and you can even walk stright into the stables as the horses are gettign prepped!!!. Doesnt say much for security but great experience.

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