Delegation takes France trip in bid to have twin town's track as 'sister' to Warwick Racecourse

Warwick Racecourse team and Mandy Ferrand, former Mayor of Warwick are greeted by officials and racecourse representative from Hippodrome de Verrie in Saumur.
Warwick Racecourse team and Mandy Ferrand, former Mayor of Warwick are greeted by officials and racecourse representative from Hippodrome de Verrie in Saumur.

Representatives of Warwick Racecourse have travelled to France as part of their aim to establish the Hippodrome De Verrie in Saumur as its sister track.

A delegation headed across the channel to visit Warwick’s sister town and discover more about its horse racing history.

Saumur, in the West of France and on the banks of the River Loire, is famed for its castle and equestrian activities, much like Warwick which it has been twinned with for 43 years.

Warwick's general manager Andre Klein and clerk of the course Jane Hedley were joined by past Mayor of Warwick, Mandy Littlejohn for the visit.

They attended a race day at the Hippodrome De Verrie.

Although the track can only trace its heritage back to the mid-19th century, (Warwick’s goes back to the beginning of the 18th), the course has an incredible and unique history as it was reserved as a racecourse for gentlemen riders and cavalry officers until the 1970s.

Horse culture in Saumur runs deep as the town is also home of the Cadre Noir, the National School of Horsemanship started by Napoleon Bonaparte whose officers also founded the racecourse.

The visit also featured a visit to Chateau de Saumur, the castle built in the 10th century, sacked by the Normans in 1067 and rebuilt by England's Henry II in the late 12th Century.

Andre Klein, General Manager of Warwick Racecourse, said it is clear why the two towns are twinned.

“There are so many similarities between the Saumur and Warwick, when you look at the castle, river and the town’s real passion for the horse and horsemanship,” he said.

“We are looking to build a stronger relationship with the racecourse there and establish it as our sister track, and look forward to welcoming over representatives from the Hippodrome De Verrie soon.

“The raceday was a great experience, with a mixed programme of steeplechase, hurdles, cross country, flat and trotting.

"Each race having exciting and thrilling finishes.

“We were shown tremendous hospitality by the town and would like to thank Warwick Town Council for the opportunity to strengthen this relationship.”

Jayne Topham, from Warwick Town Council, added: “It was a pleasure to 'connect' the racecourse with the council in Saumur.

"Any new relationships will always help to further secure the future of twinning.”