Chepstow Racecourse

Chepstow is one of Wales’ three horseracing course, located in the south eastern county of Monmouthshire, close to the border with England. It is a dual-race type course owned by the Arena Racing Company.

History

 

There has been racing in the Chepstow area since around 1892, but this particular course was first used in 196. It was set up by a group of businessmen, but then suffered a financial crisis during its first decade due to unforeseen costs that arose. Initially, it had a flat ace track only, before jumping was introduced in 1927.

One standout feature since its inception was the attractive purse it carried, which earned the course a reputation in Wales as the ‘Welsh Goodwood.’

 

The course

Chepstow has a track for flat and National Hunt racing. The course is left handed, gently undulating with a one-kilometer straight at the finish. This makes it an ideal course for horses and jockeys who count acceleration as one of their strengths. The course has also been praised for its gentle turnings, which attract jockeys due to their safety.

In jumping races, the course has eleven fences that horses go over, upping the challenge of balancing acceleration and power.

The course is also available for conferences, concerts and other personal events.

 

Races

Flat races are run in the summer and jump races in winter. In total, Chepstow hosts 32 racing fixtures in a calendar year. Most popular among these races is The Welsh Grand National, slotted right after Christmas. The 27th December date makes it a perfect family event, and it records one of the highest viewer turnout in most years.

The Totepool Jumps Festival, Silver Trophy Handicap, Persian War Novices’and Finale Juvenile Hurdles are other popular races run at the course. Photography and filming of races is done only officially, but these images are available for sale in the course’s website.

Cheltenham

Cheltenham is located in a town by the same name, inside Gloucestershire County, South West England. The Jockey Club Racecourses-owned course sits on the Prestbury Park, and underwent a redevelopment worth £45m in 2013. Its main claim to fame is the annual Cheltenham Festival held in March.

History

The course has been used for horse racing purposes since 1831, when flat races were moved to Prestbury from Nottingham Hill to evade the church’s violent opposition to horse racing. Most modelling and development was done in the 1920s, but works have been done over the years to accommodate dynamic crowds and racing trends.

The venue

Cheltenham is regarded a natural amphitheatre because it attracts many other events besides horse racing. It can hold 67,000 spectators across the sections, with a grandstand and Royal Box to catch all the action from.

There are two racing courses, the Old and New, with slight variations from each other. One particular downhill fence is a source of interest for spectators, as it is tricky and requires horses and their riders to be at their best.

There are also member areas and bar facilities within the course, all upgraded during the 2013 redevelopment.

Notable races

During the annual festival, Grade I Races like the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Queen Mother Champion Chase, Champion Hurdle, and Stayers’ Hurdle take place. Many notable races have taken place in these events, among them the five races won by Golden Miller in the 1930s.

Horses who ran there

Golden Miller remains the most legendary horse to run here, with five consecutive Gold Cup wins. L’Escargot in 1975, Arkle in 1996, Best Mate in 2004 and Kauto Star in 1999 also deserve a mention.

Other events

Inside the Cheltenham is Centaur, an auditoria with a 2000 sitting/4000 standing capacity for conferences and concerts. Major events held here include the Greebelt faith, arts and justice festival, Wynchwood Music Concert and Gloucestershire University’s graduation and summer ball.

Chelmsford City

chelmsford cityChelmsford City Racecourse is a racing venue found in Great Leighs near Chelmsford, Essex, England. It was formerly called Great Leighs Racecourse. The racecourse is owned by John Holmes and son, Jonathan and was officially opened on 20/04/2008.

History

Chelmsford held its first race meeting with an audience on 28/05/2008 and the opening race was won by Temple of Thebes. It is a flat Polytrack type of course. The racecourse became famous for its racing facilities but was also criticised for its incomplete visitors’ facilities and thus did not meet expectations at many levels. The venue can host races during winter as well as summer.

Closure

Racing was halted temporarily on 16/01/2009 and the site put on a bid. It was announced in March that the two bidding parties had been unable to prove that they had sufficient finances to manage it.

Leasing and selling

The Administrators made an 18-month lease deal with Terry Chambers who is a local businessman, but the course was ineligible to bid for fixtures since it was unable to acquire a racing licence in time. The racecourse was expected to resume racing in 2011 after the administrators struck a deal with Chambers and Bill Gredley, where the pair would buy the racetrack. However, the plans did not succeed as the deal did not pull through. MC Racetracks bought the course in November 2011, but the British Horseracing Authority turned down an application to hold fixtures in 2013. BHA however allowed Chelmsford to be among the fixture venues of 2014.Still, when the owners submitted requests for it to host fixtures in 2014, the BHA rejected it. Later in 2013, the racecourse was bought by Betfred’s owner Fred Done and sought the approval of BHA for 2015 fixtures.

Reopening

With an invited crowd of 800 people, the racetrack reopened on 11/01/2015. A public reopening later took place on 22/01/2015, with the first race going to Tryster by a short head.

Catterick

The course is located just off Catterick town in North Yorkshire County, North East England. It is a dual-race type course, often referred to as Catterick Bridge. It is owned by the Catterick Racecourse Limited.

History

The course has been existent since the mid-17thCentury, although official records only reveal racing stats starting 1783. It was not until 1813 that the current permanent course was built. Many refurbishment changes have been done to the course in the time of its existence, but there has always been a deliberate effort to maintain its original touch. As such, the present Grandstand still possesses some elements of the stand that occupied its place in 1906.

The course

Catterick is a left handed oval course, gently undulating over a length of slightly over a mile. It is modelled for both flat and jumping competitions. The jump races take the start and end of every year- when conditions are wintry- while flat racing occurs in the warmer months between April and October.

It has a gravel sub-soil under the grass, a factor that makes it a relatively stable surface.

Thee course does not have a formal dress code requirement.

Races

January’s Grand National is the headline event every year at Catterick, attracting most racegoers of all 25 fixtures that are run here annually.

The first batch of jump races starts with the New Years day race on January 1, and ends with the Hunt Staff Benefit Society Countryside Day in mid-March. Jumping returns again in November during the Start of The Jumps, and closes the year with the Go Racing in Yorkshire Winter Festival at the end of December. The flat races in between start with the Easter Race Day and end with The Halloween Race Day.

Catterick boasts being the debut track for eventual international flat-track champion horse Colier Hill, who ran his first competitive race at the ground in 2002.

Cartmel

Cartmel Racecourse is a jumps-race track located in the countryside village by the same name in Cumbria County, England. It is considered a small course, but races are still televised on Racing UK. It is owned by Lord Cavendis, who acquired it in 1998.

History

The track has been galloped by racehorses since 1856 according to records, but stories of horse racing stretch further back. Landowners from the vllage were the main source of funding for the small course, which did not adopt professional racing until after the second World War.

The track was caught up in an attempted fraud scandal in 1974, when trainer Antony Collins produced a weak version of the horse ‘Gay Future’in order to get beter odds from bookmakers. The scandal was later adopted into the movie ‘Murphy’s Stroke’in 1979.

The course

The course’s shape is a unique oval, with gentle bends on one side that make it appear more like a soft-edge rectangle. The other end of the oval skews to one side, such that one bend is sharp and the other is absolutely smooth- no need for slowing down as a horse navigates.

The finishing straight then cuts across the oval, joining its two long arms.

Cartmel enjoys a rich race going culture, with around 20,000 spectators arriving on some race days. This puts it third in the list of attendance at jump courses in Britain, only behind Cheltenham and Aintree. It maintains a culture of letting people have fun besides horse racing, sometimes with a break between three days of racing for people to visit the country. The allowing of cars to drive right into the middle of the course and choose spots from which to catch races is a popular move, as is the permission to set up bbqs.

 

Races

There are seven race days in the Cartmel calendar, with the Bank Holidays of August proving to be by far the most popular. The most memorable horse on the track is Soul magic, who has won here seven times before 2014.

Carlisle

Carlisle is located in the village of Blackwell, close to the county town of Carlisle in Cumbria County, England. It is a dual-race type course, owned by Jockey Club Racecourses. Action from the track is televised on Racing UK.

 

History

The current location of the track has been in active use since 1904, although racing in the area was active much earlier. The Carlisle Bell was first run in 1599.

The first grandstand opened as the track came into business, but as required upgrades over the years as the number of spectators has increased. In the 60s, refurbishments adapted the course for night racing and a new grandstand was built. The Jubilee Grandstand of 2002 is still the largest upgrade of recent times.

Carlisle also holds the honour of first British course to have Tote betting, which was introduced in 1929.

The course

The course runs over a length of 1-mile 2-furlongs. It is mostly flat, with a steep uphill towards the finish. Flat and National races are run here, making the ground a busy venue throughout the year. Jump races are held at every end of the April-September flat competition period.

Access is possible by road, rail or air, with a bus service operating between the track and the station for £1.60 each way. The train station is 2.2 miles off, and helicopter landing would require an advance approval.

Races

Carlisle Bell, rated among the oldest known horse races worldwide, is run at The Carlisle. Cumberland Chase, Graduation Chase and Cumberland Plate are other popular races forming part of the circle.

Red Rum, the great Grand National champion horse from the 70s, has a unique attachment to Carlisle. The triple-Grand National winner prepared for each of his big wins with successful warm up runs here, and to date the entire Carlisle fraternity is proud of that stat to no end. October’s Red Rum racing Day is named in his honour.

Brighton

brightonBrighton is a flat-type racecourse located in a seaside resort by the same name in Sussex County to the South of England. It is owned by the Arena Racing Company, and has races airing on At The Races. It is just a mile away from the coast, at an altitude of 400 ft above sea level.

History

The course was set up in 1783 by a group of rich townspeople, among them the Duke of Cumberland. Racing quickly grew in popularity in the area, attracting the prince of Wales on only its second year.

The current track was set up in 1850, with the introduction of the first main stand coming at the time. Popularity kept rising, an in 1898 the local authorities took full charge in a bid to control the negative aspects that had come with the growth of the crowd. Racing was stopped during each of the World Wars, but otherwise track meetings have been regular.

The course

The course has a unique horse-shoe shape, extending to a length of 1-mile four-furlongs. The incomplete circuit often draws comparison with Epsom Racecourse. It starts out gentle, then goes into a lengthy downhill section, before coming up again to present a level finish over the last 100 yards. The ground is stable on the left-handed track, and the gradient and shape contribute to earn it a place among the fastest sprint racing tracks in England.

Brighton lies not more than five-minute drive from the City Center. There I a courtesy bus service between the racing venue and the Brighton station two hours before racing starts and immediately after the final race.

Races

There are 17 race meetings at the track in a calendar year, running between April and October. The Brighton Mile Challenge Trophy Handicap is the track’s headline race, run during the early August Brighton Festival. It is among the courses that offer lower prize money, and is thus considered a small course.

Beverley

Beverley racecourse is located in the market town of Beverley, within the county of East Riding of Yorkshire, England. It is a flat-type racecourse owned by the Beverly Race Company Ltd, with races at the course televised on Racing Uk.

History

There was racing in Beverley as early as the first half of the 18th Century, but the first time an annual meeting was held there was in 1767. During this inaugural year, a £1,000 grandstand was commissioned. Annual events continued until 1798, when they were stopped for a period of seven years. The course’s popularity grew a lot in the two decades following the 1805 resumption; it is then that the renowned horse ‘Altisidora’ ran the track.

A new grandstand worth £90,000 came into use in 1968.

The Course

Beverly is a right handed flat-racing course, slightly more than 1-mile 3-furlongs in length. Most sections of the track are flat, except for the finish area which has an uphill gradient. The course is also known for its tight turns that require riders to reign the horses with skill. Part of these bends cause Beverly to be the course with the greatest ‘draw bias’ across the UK.

The course has a ‘The horse comes first’ policy, a campaign which aims to dispel untruths about cruelty to racehorses. Access can be gained by bus from the train station a mile away; dogs are not allowed. The dress code is smart casual.

Races

Beverly hosts 19 race meetings in a calendar year. The Hilary Needler trophy and the Beverley Bullet Sprint Stakes, both listed, are the headline races at the course. The Brian Yeardley is also run here. In 2014, the Hilary Needler was abandoned due to a waterlogged pitch.

Tim Easterby-trained horses have always had a good running at Beverley, forming the largest number of race winners from the same training stable, which is an incredible stat by any standards.

Bath

Bath Racecourse is a resplendent venue for thorough bred horse racing. It stands at the top of Lansdown Hill, about 31/4 miles northeast of Bath in Somerset, England. The left-handed race course covers 1 mile 4 furlongs and 25 yards. It’s an oval track with a run-in almost half a mile long. At 780 feet above sea level, Bath racecourse is one of the highest flat racecourses in England.

Bath racecourse is run by Arena Racing Company. The venue received a multi-million renovation in 2016 that transformed it to one of the most stylish horse racing venues in the UK. As part of the face-lift, Beckford Bar as well as a new stand, the Langridge Grandstand, were officially opened. The new stand has three tiers with the rooftop stand offering a most picturesque view of the course; the hills below complete the scenic view.

Bath racecourse has a long history that dates back to 1728, when the first race was held with the endorsement of the Blathwayts- a local family. The racecourse used to have a single meet a year that would run for two days. However, it finally grew and hosts 22 meets.

The biggest event of the year promises to be even bigger owing to the renovations that have given the venue a modernistic look with plenty of new amenities. Ladies day is the busiest race event of the calendar; it draws a large crowd with plenty of races and all the damsels from town in attendance.

Bath has had a few champions in the 200 years that it has hosted horse racing. The most notable races at this flat turf include Landsdown Fillies’ Stakes and Beckford Stakes.

The new Bath racecourse a good place to enjoy wholesome family fun all through summer; there is horse racing and events like music evenings and family race-days. It is also open for corporate as well as family events such as weddings when there are no races going on.

Bangor-On-Dee

bangorBangor on Dee racecourse is located in a town by the same within the area of Wrexham, North Wales. It is a left-handed National Hunt Racing course owned by the Chester Race Company. Matches at the course are televised on Racing UK. It has a sister track- Chester- which hosts flat racing.

History

The first recorded race on the present track was run in 1859. Closure did occur during the wars, but besides that races have been largely regular. In the second half of the 19th Century, champion Jockey Fred Archer was a popular figure at the Bangor. He won a whopping 2748 races during his time, a good chunk of those on this track.

A new hurdle course set up in 1947 drew even more and better horses to the site. However, sheep presence on the course did cause denial of a licence in 1969. In 1997, the course introduced another weighing room to replace the previous one used since 197.

The Course

The pear shaped track is relatively gentle in gradient, with gentle banked bends at most turning points. One turn on the narrow end of the pear has a tricky sharp turn however, necessitating a quick deceleration for horses who have had a long stretch to build up speed.

Bangor, despite its size and being the only course in North Wales, does not possess a grandstand. Viweing is mainly on the grass banks, but the natural elevation offers an amphitheatre-like viewing experience.

The course is accessible by road, train or air, although prior booking is required for helicopter landing. A free bus service operates on race days. Dress code is not strict, and photography is okay provided flashes are disabled. Bbqs are allowed, but should always consider other race goers.

Races

Bangor is a popular race venue, with 15 meetings in a year. There is also point-to-point racing here, usually a preparation for horses aiming to join the National Hunt at later times.