AS the oldest racecourse in Britain, the history of Chester Racecourse is well documented.

But with millions of pounds being ploughed into the historic venue a bid to change the face of Chester's conference product', the Roodee is racing towards the future.

The Pavilion, a glass structure set among 100 acres of ground and flanked by the Dee, is a new owners and trainers facility that will be available for use as a venue for events, meetings and conferences.

Designed to seat around 500 people in theatre style, with additional exhibition space and breakout facilities, the entire conferencing facilities at the racecourse will now be targeting a new market of larger conferences and exhibitions.

For David Taylor, business office manager of Heathcotes - the events arm of the racecourse - it is a stressful but exciting time but he believes the new venture will place Chester Racecourse at the heart of the city's reawakening.

"It's something that Chester has been crying out for.

"For the past 15 years or so Chester has been quite stagnant, lacking in any vision, but now we're part of a huge renaissance and it's a fantastic time," he said.

"It's not only great for the racecourse but for Chester as a whole.

"It is going to dramatically impact on the business that we bring into the city.

"On a commercial basis it should have a very good effect - there are very few venues in the centre of Chester that can cater for between 400 and 500 people and that's going to have a positive impact on the hotels, restaruants and retailers here."

He added: "Racing here only really accounts for 14 days of the year - we have 351 other days where we have to make sure that the course works as a business. The Pavillion presents all kinds of possibilites - corporate dinners, exhibitions, weddings, lunches, fashion shows - the whole spectrum is open to us.

"For a long time there was nowhere big enough in the heart of Chester to cater for the large businesses that are based here and so they would look to other venues.

"But with this new development that is all set to change."

Born in Chester, David is exceptionally proud to work at the racecourse and speaks with passion about his place of work.

"I know a lot of people who hate their jobs and getting up to go to work is a chore. It's not like that here.

"Everyday is so completely different. In the past four hours alone I've done so many different things and that's what makes working here so great," he added.

"I'm a Chester lad born and bred and though I've worked across Europe, it's been fantastic to come back to work here at a time when so much is happening."

He added: "I'm very proud of this race course. "It's such a very unique place and you can feel that when you walk around it. You can sense the history here.

"And it's a very beautiful place. At the end of April when all the flowers are starting to come into bloom it looks stunning. You feel so cut off from everywhere and yet it's in the very heart of the city."