Ayr 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.
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.