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Guy Henderson aims to take the stuffiness out of Ascot racecourse

The track’s new chief executive wants the Royal meeting’s spectator numbers to overtake the British Grand Prix

The interview is over and Guy Henderson has a train to catch but there is one final point he wants to make. “Stuffiness,” he says. “That’s the word that I forgot to mention. I don’t like stuffiness on racecourses.” Since Henderson is three days into his job as the chief executive of Ascot, a racecourse that was once a world leader in stuffiness, it is a telling way to conclude.

His precision with words is informative too, a reminder that Henderson spent 30 years as a partner in a leading international law firm before his only previous employment in racecourse management, as a board member and then chairman at Wincanton. One of his first tasks at Wincanton, Henderson says, was “to persuade the Jockey Club to stop referring to it as one of their smaller courses”. There is only one way to describe Ascot, however.

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