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.


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.


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 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.


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 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.


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.


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.