Image of the gates of the Liverpool Cathedral

Aintree Racecourse

Presented by: Professor Frank Sanderson

Honorable Pro-Chancellor, I have pleasure in presenting Aintree Racecourse for the Corporate Award of Liverpool John Moores University. 

Aintree Racecourse is receiving the Corporate Award today in recognition of the significant role it plays in portraying a positive image of the Liverpool City-Region. 

Aintree Racecourse is renowned worldwide for its high standards of customer service and plays a vital role to the City of Liverpool in encouraging sustained investment in terms of both tourism and business. In terms of visitor spend during Grand National Week, the total economic impact is in the region of £30 million per year.

Aintree Racecourse was founded in 1929 and has been the proud home of the world's greatest steeplechase, the Grand National, since 1839. Televised in over 100 countries to an audience of over 500 million, the race is a wonderful showcase for Liverpool and British Jump Racing. 

Aintree was saved for the nation by The Jockey Club and public subscription in the 1980s, and with a view to broaden the appeal of the sport to wider audiences, a £50 million investment programme has been completed. 

Aintree Racecourse now hosts numerous events, including motorsport, top flight show-jumping, and incidentally LJMU Examinations, resulting in several hundred thousand visitors to the site each year outside of its 9 days of top quality horseracing.   

Of particular note is the Aintree International Equestrian Centre completed in 2007 with investment from the Northwest Regional Development Agency and the European Regional Development Fund. The centre offers international-standard facilities for the equestrian disciplines. It is available for private hire and can accommodate competitions, horse sales, equine trade-related events, exhibitions and clinics. It includes the Para Dressage Training Clinic sponsored by the Equestrian Centre and the Para Training Trust, where riders with a disability receive training free of charge. 

With the aim of dispelling the idea that equestrianism is the preserve of the well-off, the Centre, working with the British Horseracing Education Standards Trust is providing opportunities for pupils to gain social and equestrian skills and for older students to gain qualifications through the use of educational activities based on the National Curriculum. 

At the Aintree Golf Centre, there are excellent all-year facilities including an all-weather floodlit driving range and a 9-hole course located in the centre of the race track. In line with the Aintree community outreach policy, The Golf Centre is actively engaged with promoting golf in local primary and secondary schools.   

In acknowledgement of the major financial and cultural contribution it makes to Liverpool and the wider region, we are delighted to present a Corporate Award to Aintree Racecourse today. 

Here to collect the award is Julian Thick, the Chief Executive of Aintree Racecourse. Julian was formerly managing director at Kempton and Sandown Park before returning recently to Liverpool where he did his racecourse manager training in the early 1990s.  

It is thus with great pleasure that we invite Mr Julian Thick to receive on behalf of Aintree racecourse the Corporate Award from Liverpool John Moores University.