Meet the man who walks 26km a day at Royal Ascot to help make it an unforgettable experience for everyone.
I’ve been in racing for over 15 years and so much has changed in that time. My first job, at Chester racecourse, involved a lot of business modernisation – when I started there they were still selling badges and writing the numbers in a ledger! From Chester I moved on to Aintree and then to Hamilton Park racecourse, where I enjoyed four happy years in the Clyde Valley just outside Glasgow as Hamilton’s CEO.
My five years at Aintree as racing operations manager were certainly eventful. I arrived two years after the IRA bomb scare and evacuation at the  Grand National and also worked there during the foot-and-mouth crisis of 2001.
Former Ascot CEO Charles Barnett previously worked in the same role at Aintree and I worked directly for him. He joined Ascot post redevelopment in 2007 and I joined him here in May 2008.
Top of my to-do list was the new grandstand – it is architecturally stunning but early on it provided a number of challenges. I’d been involved in the design for Aintree’s new buildings and you quickly realise that the customer doesn’t always behave in the way the architect thinks they will! You therefore need to learn how the customer wants to use the stands and this is an on-going process that never stops.
During Royal Ascot week, I have overall responsibility for the ‘nuts-and-bolts’ running of the event and, ultimately, for its 6,500 staff. My day begins at 0430 with a walk of the track. A big part of my team’s role is analysing different areas and the way the customers are behaving, all of which goes into the consideration and planning for the following year’s event.
We conduct a lot of customer interviews to ascertain whether we are fully meeting their expectations. As a brand we want to excel and exceed those expectations and the only way to do this is to understand what they want as precisely as possible.
My day normally runs through until about 2100, by which time all of our customers will have left and I’ll try and get some well-earned rest before it all starts again. A few years ago we ran a pedometer competition for staff – it turned out that I walked an average of 26km per day, all in 30C heat and dressed in a morning suit!
For me, there are two fundamental things that make a trip to Royal Ascot very special indeed. Nothing beats the atmosphere when 9,000 people welcome The Queen into the Parade Ring each day and Royal Ascot is a place where memories are made. I’ve been lucky enough to work here during the time of Yeats, Frankel, Black Caviar and Estimate, who won the Gold Cup for Her Majesty. Nowhere else can offer moments like those.
Alastair Warwick, Chief Operating Officer, Ascot Racecourse
To read more, purchase the Royal Ascot magazine at Ascot Racecourse.
Tickets for this year's Royal Ascot are proving as popular as ever, with the Queen Anne Enclosure sold out on Thursday 16th, Friday 17th and Saturday 18th June. The Windsor Enclosure has sold out on both Thursday 16th and Saturday 18th June, with limited availability on Friday 17th June.
We still have availability on the opening two days of the Royal Meeting, while upgrades that include Queen Anne Enclosure admission are still available across all five days.
For all latest availability and to book pleaseclick here