Edward Gillespie, managing director of Cheltenham racecourse, is standing down after 32 years.

Mr Gillespie has run Cheltenham racecourse since he was 27 years old. He is now nearing his 60th birthday and last year won a lifetime achievement award at the Sports Industry Awards.

“Gold Cup Day this year was my 100th Festival day in charge and it was extremely satisfying that it also marked our highest ever attendance, as the climax of a tremendous season at the racecourse,” said Mr Gillespie.

“I’m 60 years old in July and, while part of me feels I could carry on forever, I’m conscious that my sporting heroes have bowed out at the top of their game, carrying their bats so to speak. I’ve been here for a long time, so I’d love to get involved in other projects within sport or business in the last few years of my career.”

He will continue in his position until a successor is appointed and then complete a full handover period. He will also act as a consultant to Jockey Club Racecourses on various projects, including the next stage of development at Cheltenham racecourse, which is undergoing a feasibility study.

“We’ve built a great team at Cheltenham who will ensure the racecourse goes from strength-to-strength. During my tenure, more than £80m has been invested here, including £20m in the last decade. I will also continue to be involved in planning the next stage of development at Cheltenham on a consultancy basis.

Robert Waley-Cohen, chairman of Cheltenham racecourse added: “Over the past 30 years, The Festival at Cheltenham has developed into one of the great British sporting occasions and that is largely down to the energy, enthusiasm and expertise of Edward.

“He has put his heart and soul into Cheltenham during that time and the profile and popularity that Cheltenham now enjoys is a testament to his skill in understanding what people want and developing a team that can deliver it.

“That team is now in great shape to continue the success that Edward has engineered and everyone at Cheltenham and throughout the racing industry is immensely grateful for all that he has done.”