By December 8, 2020 Read More →

Horse Racing Courses To Visit In The UK and Ireland

Horse racing courses in the UK and Ireland can be split into one of three categories: flat courses, national hunt courses, and mixed courses. There are currently 60 racecourses operating across Great Britain and 26 in Ireland. This includes the well-known courses, such as Ascot, Aintree, Punchestown, and Cheltenham, as well as some of the lesser-known courses, for example, Towcester, Worcester, and Great Yarmouth. If you ever fancy a fun day out, you can’t beat a day at the races, so it helps to know more about the courses, both in terms of the facilities but also how the course will impact the racing on the day. 

From Cheltenham to Punchestown, Some Of The Most Famous Jump Courses You Need To Know About 

Every course in the UK and Ireland has a story. They all have a unique charm and appeal. We’re going to take a look at some of the most famous ones, and where better to start than the home of jump racing? The National Hunt season cumulates in March with the Cheltenham Festival, where the best of the best face off in a thrilling four-day spectacle. Cheltenham racecourse offers the supreme test for hurdlers and chasers, with the famous Cheltenham hill catching a lot of horses out while propelling others to legendary status. To win here, you need stamina and guts. When looking at write-ups from experts, you will note that a lot of horse racing professionals focus heavily on the course record. It really does make a big difference here. A proven Cheltenham winner is something to look out for. 

Over in Ireland, Punchestown is considered the home of Irish National Hunt racing. It plays host to the famous La Touche Cup, which is run over the cross-country course. One jockey who loves it here is Robbie Power, with a 47 per cent strike-rate over fences at Punchestown. If you fancy a trip to Ireland, you will find the racecourse about an hour from Dublin, so there is a lot to do here. Ireland has a rich history that’s certainly worth exploring. You’re probably familiar with some of the famous Irish Americans yourself!

From Laytown to Epsom Downs, Some Of The Most Famous Flat Courses You Need To Know About

Flat racing is popular all over the world, and some of the best events are staged in the UK. Arguably the most unique racecourse is Laytown. Situated on a tidal beach, this is a seven-furlong straight track where racing takes place only one day per year. One of the most popular flat tracks in the country has to be Goodwood. You can witness five days of top-class action during the summer when the famous Glorious Goodwood meeting takes place. The main race at this event is the Group 1 Sussex Stakes. Epsom Downs also hosts Group 1 action. This course is home to the Derby and the Oaks, two of the main races on the flat calendar. In 2017, the Oaks was won by horse of year, Enable, who then went on to win the famous Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Another racecourse that deserves a mention for its uniqueness is Chester. It’s the smallest racecourse in the country, offering a unique atmosphere and memorable racing. When a horse is racing at Chester, you will note that draw bias is often spoken about in most racing write-ups. If you’re drawn in one of the higher stalls, your chances are quickly reduced. 

Read Up On Draw Bias Before Heading To The Course

When it comes to flat racing, draw bias is something you need to know about when looking for the winner. Draw bias describes whether a horse has a disadvantage or advantage following the stall they have been drawn in. While some horse racing courses do not have any bias, there are some courses whereby the stall your horse is drawn in makes a massive difference. Chester is the most obvious example. When looking at handicap races over 5f that have taken place since 2005, over half of the winners came from stalls one or two. As the races get longer, this makes less of a difference. If you’re looking at a race run over 1m2f, while you’d prefer to have a horse drawn lower, the influence of the draw isn’t as strong. There are a number of factors that influence draw bias, which is why horses drawn on the inside don’t always have the best opportunity to win the race. It all depends on the shape and design of the course. Other determining factors are the size of the field, race distance – as touched upon, the horse, and the ground. Let’s take the ground as an example. If it has been raining, a bias can be created because one section of the ground may be quicker than the rest. So, when deciding on a horse to back, make sure you find out if there is any draw bias.

What You Need To Know About Horse Racing Before Your Big Day Out

Some horse racing courses are better suited to horses with a certain style of riding. To win at Aintree, you need a horse that is accurate and fast at their obstacles. Long-striding gallopers thrive at Ayr, but they struggle at Thirsk. If you have a horse that takes longer to find their full stride, they will be at a marked disadvantage. Front runners fair better at Bangor-on-Dee, as this is a flat track with three, sharp bends. Courses like Tipperary are fair, meaning the best horse will almost always prevail, which should make picking a winner a bit easier – in theory. Horses that like to race up with the pace do well at Stratford-on-Avon. And, what about Plumpton? Well, when conditions are testing you need a horse that digs in, has the ability to battle, and sees out the trip well. Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of the racecourses in the UK and across Ireland; a great activity for any trip! 

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