Haydock Park

Haydock Park racecourse is situated in Newton-le-Willows, Merseyside and is owned by Jockey Club Racecourses. It’s both a flat and national hunt course and its races are broadcast on Racing UK. The ‘Park’ in Haydock park is on account of the courses beautiful setting within parkland.

The course first opened in 1899 (racing had previously taken place in nearby Newton in the decades previous) and is a left handed course of around 1 mile 5 furlongs in distance. Racing takes place all year round, and the course is home to two group one races, the Haydock Spring Cup in September and November’s Betfair Chase, the former is a flat race, the latter a chase.

The Betfair Chase is a relatively new addition, having first taken place in 2005. Its sponsor, Betfair, initially offered a £1,000,000 prize to any horse winning this race as well as the King George VI Chase and the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Kauto Star wasted no time in picking up the prize in 2006-7, and in fact won the race four times between 2006-11. Cue Card has also impressed in the Betfair Chase over the years, winning it in 2013, 2015 and 2016.

The success of Kauto Star – and also wins by Silvianaco Conti, means that jockey Ruby Walsh and trainer Paul Nicholls currently hold the records for the most wins in the Betfair Chase.

Newmarket

Newmarket racecourse is situated in Newmarket, Suffolk, UK and consists of two separate courses named the Rowley Mile (a 1 mile 2 furlong course used in spring and autumn) and the July course (1 mile). Both courses are for flat racing only. It’s well situated with many nearby training yards and organisations (Tattersalls etc). It’s place in the heart of races extends to its exciting racing fixtures which take place from April to November each year.

Many noteable races are held at the Newmarket course including the Craven Stakes in April, 1000 and 2000 Guineas in May, The July Cup, and Fillies Mile in September, the list goes on. The course holds an impressive nine of the UK’s 36 group one meetings each year – most of which take place on the Rowley Mile course – meaning that if you live close to the course you’re in for a real treat!

Some will be aware that the Champion Stakes also used to take place at Newmarket, but that race along with two others moved to British Champions Day at Ascot in 2010.

The course has royal connections going back hundreds of years. The first recorded race in the proximity was a £100 bet between Lord Salisbury and Marquess of Buckingham in 1622, with the racecourse itself being founded in 1636.

Aintree

Aintree racecourse is a track near Aintree, Liverpool in the UK. It’s most famous for hosting the Grand National, the most highly anticipated and watched steeplechase race in the UK racing calendar.

The Aintree course is certainly not the most straightforward there is. Fences such as the Chair, Becher’s Brook and the Canal Turn have gained prominence and indeed notoriety due to the role they have played in the Grand National over the years. The Grand National isn’t the only race to utilise these fences, as they also feature in Fox Hunters Chase and Topham Chase, which are races that are part of the wider Grand National Meeting. The fences also feature in the Grand Sefton Handicap Chase and Becher Chase in Aintree’s December Meeting.

The Grand National held at Aintree is run over a distance of 4 miles 514 yards. The race typically starts with a field of around 40, though frequently a great many less finish the race, due to falls and horses pulling up over the two laps of the course.

Aside from the showpiece Grand National Meeting, and aforementioned December meeting, one other stand out race at Aintree is October’s Old Roan Chase. It’s a grade two national hunt steeplechase race which was won by Kauto Star in 2006, just two years after the event was first held.

Cheltenham Racecourse

Cheltenham racecourse is situated in Prestbury Park, near Cheltenham Gloustershire. In its scenic location and with a 67,000 person capacity, it’s a popular racecourse with the general public. It hosts one of the most highly anticipated events in the racing calendar, the Cheltenham Festival.

The Cheltenham racecourse has two courses running alongside one another, named the old course and the new course. There’s also a separate cross country course inside the main used, which is used for steeplechase events. The impressive 2000 seat ‘Centaur’ auditoria is often used to host concerts and conferences.

The four day Cheltenham Festival is a national hunt extravaganza taking place over four days in March of each year. It features such highly anticipated races as the Arkle Challenge Trophy, the Queen Mother Champion Chase, the Stayers’ Hurdle and the Cheltenham Gold Cup. All of these four races are Grade One affairs, in fact 14 of the races held over the course of the festival are Grade One races. Dating back to 1860 the festival draws huge crowds, with a ‘Cheltenham Roar’ being let out by those in attendance as the first race starts. Hundreds of millions of pounds are bet on the Cheltenham Festival over the four day period, and the quality of the races is second to none. Horses like such Kauto Star and Best Mate have Cheltenham (esp. the Cheltenham Gold Cup) in part to thank for contiburing heavily towards their legacy.

Other noteworthy races take place at the course including the BetVictor Gold Cup and International Hurdle, though the main focus on the year is most certainly the Cheltenham Festival itself.

In recent years heavy investment (£45million) has taken place in the redevelopment of the course, including the addition of the new Princess Royal Stand.

York Racecourse

Set in the picturesque city of York, in North Yorkshire, York racecourse is one of the UK’s top racecourses attracting hundreds of thousands of racing fans annually. The city is steeped in history and that history extends of horse racing, with races in nearby Forest of Galtres that can be traced back as early as 1590, and to this actual racecourse in the 1730s.

York racecourse hosts three of the yearly group one races ( Juddmonte International Stakes, the Nunthorpe Stakes and the Yorkshire Oaks) as well as the ever popular Ebor Handicap, which has £500,000 prize money and takes place in August of each year. Also taking place in August as part of the same Ebor Festival, The International Stakes, for three year olds and over, has been won by such giants of racing as equine icon Frankel in 2012 and Roaring Lion in 2018.

The racecourse used to have a distinctive horsehsoe shape to it, but in 2005 it was extended and is now a full round course. The change took place on account of the Ascot Gold Cup moving to York for that particular year due to redevelopments taking place. York racecourse regularly places highly in Favourite Racecourse polls.

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