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.

Ayr

ayrAyr is one of Scotland’s main racecourses, with some strong points for the argument that it is the best racecourse in the country. It is located in Ayshire County, and hosts races that are aired on Racing UK. It is rated as a five-star attraction.

History

The track has been in existence for around five centuries, but the first officially recorded race was run in 1771 in an oval track that was a standout for the sharpness of bends in it. The need for a larger space led to the course being moved from Seafield to Craigie, both within Ayr town.

Initially, the track was a flat race type only, but it was upgraded to incorporate a jump area in 1950. This step-up opened doors for the Grand National, which was first held here in 1966. It also did host the Scottish Derby until the race was discontinued in 2005.

In 1838, the Western meeting made news of the course by offering a prize purse of £2000, a feat that made it the most valuable two-year-old competition at the time.

The Course

Ayr has courses for both flat and National Hunt race types. The flat is a left-handed oval, with a relatively gentle gradient that, coupled with the fair turns, allows racehorses to maintain a steady pace over pretty much the entire distance.

The jump area is also left handed, albeit much more gruelling. It has a more inclined slope towards the home turn, then has a little uphill at the finish.

Races

Ayr hosts the Scottish Grand National and the Ayr Gold Cup as its main races. This makes it a busy venue in the months of April and September. It also hosts the Rothsey Stakes, the Firth of Clyde, The Harry Roseberry and The Scottish Champion Hurdle.

Here, trainers like Donald Mc Cain and Richard Fahey have made names for themselves as highly valuable masters of the game.

Ascot

ascot

Ascot is a major British racecourse located in Ascot town, in the South Eastern county of Berkshire. It is owned by the Ascot Racecourse Ltd, but remains a public racecourse as passed by parliament in 1813. It has a royal element to it, based on its proximity to the Windsor Castle and also its history. These elements can be seen in much of the branding during races at the track.

History

The idea of the course was born in 1711, when Queen Anne was out riding. She noticed an open area, which brought to her the imagination of ‘horses galloping at full stretch.’ Eureka! Her Majesty’s Plate, the first ever race held at the track, took place in August of the same year, pitting competitors in three four-mile heats. The winnings were high even then; a purse of 100 guineas!

The course closed for around two years for a £185 million redevelopment in 2004, and was re-opened by Queen Elizabeth in 2006.

The venue

Ascot is mainly a flat racing course, but also has sections of ditches and fences where the National Hunt racing takes place. The costly redevelopments over the years have altered its appearances at every turn, mainly in the spectator sections.

After the 2004 renovation, complaints arose that restaurants and other hospitality facilities had received more attention than race viewing itself, prompting further alterations to improve viewing areas.

Notable races

In its characteristic royal self, Ascot’s main race is the Royal Ascot, which is held over three days every year. It is attended by the Queen and members of the Royal Family, and records around 3,000 visitors. This race has over time become more of a social event than a racing competition.

For actual racing, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, run during the annual Gold Cup in July is the event.

Man O’ War, Arkle, and Red Rum are some of the most famous horses to have graced The Ascot.

Aintree

aintree racecourseAintree is regarded as one of the toughest courses to race in, where only top-deck horses and jockeys can survive, and even they have to be in their A-element. Located in the civil parish of Aintree in the North Western County of Merseyside, England, Aintree is the home of the Grand National Steeplechase. This race is world famous and sees horses cross oceans to take part.

It is owned by the Jockey Club Racecourses.

History

Aintree was initially a flat racing course, but was converted to a fences and ditches (steeplechase) course in 1839, when the first of sixteen fences were introduced.This made for quite the upgrade.

Major races

The Grand National descends on the Aintree every April, drawing competitors from all over the world. The races form a kind of tourism event, which causes a buzz around the entire village town.

From Golden Miller, L’ Escargot, Red Rum, Mon Mome and Esha Ness, the best horses in the trade have been to the Aintree.

The course

Fences and ditches mark most areas of the tracks in this steeplechase platform. The particular tricky setting of these barriers makes it unique and more demanding than most courses of its kind. The presence of spruce trees at all but one of its fences makes it even trickier, and different from any other course of the national hunt.

Other events

The ground has also been used for other events, including The Grand Prix motor racing, Michael Jackson’s 1988 Bad World Tour event and other music concerts. It also has a 9-hole golf course within its area.

Complaints

Due to the toughness of the Grand National, there have often been complaints regarding deaths and injuries at the Aintree, mainly from animal rights campaigners. Objectively viewed, however, The Aintree does not have any abnormal stats of these happenings, only they are more widely popularised.

Hey All!

Hi all. Welcome to horsesandcourses.net . Over the weeks and months we intend to offer a thorough and detailed look at every UK racecourse, from the main courses that all of us race fans have likely visited,  to the lesser lights of the UK racing scene. On top of that we will be putting some of the greatest race horses of all time, as well as those more recently displaying their worth, under the spotlight. Stay tuned!