The Royal Windsor Racecourse is located in the market town of Windsor in the county of Berkshire, South East England. It is a flat-type track that sits on an island by the banks of River Thames. It also faces the Windsor Castle. It is owned by the Arena Leisure PLC and has races screened on At The Races.
The first race at the current track was run in 1886, bringing organisation to a sport that had existed in the area since the times of Henry VII. It has always been a popular betting place, although this was once affected by Churchill’s attempt to introduce a betting levy in 1926. Bookmakers reacted by declining to accept bets, rendering the policy unpopular and it was eventually dropped.
Over the years, Windsor was both a flat and National Hunt type track, but switched fully to flat racing in 1998.
It is a fairly long course, stretching over a mile and a half. Unlike most tracks that assume oval or pear shapes, Windsor has the figure of the digit ‘8.’ The sharp bends at turning points are such that it appears like an’ S’ joined end to end by a diagonal stroke. It is the only track thus shaped in the country. Speed is thus not the main strength for horses racing here; agility and stamina are.
The course has occasionally hosted jump races since going full time flat, most notably when it subbed Ascot’s jump races during the latter’s refurbishment in the 2000s.
The island location of the course makes it a scenic place in addition to the thrill of witnessing the challenging races. A visit can be made even more memorable by using a boat to access the location. There is a taxi service running from Windsor Town’s The Barry Avenue Promenade on race days that takes ten minutes to get to course.
For by air access, Heathrow Airport is 11 miles off, and helicopter landing can be arranged with the course management in advance.
Windsor hosts 27 race meetings in a year, including August Stakes, Winter Hill Stakes, Leisure Stakes, Midsummer Stakes and Royal Windsor Stakes. Jockey Richard Hughes incredibly won seven out of eight races held on 15 October 2012.