With origins dating back to the Victorian times in the UK, few sports have the prestige and heritage of horse racing.
Plenty of other sports have caught up and surpassed horse racing in the UK when it comes to general spectatorship and coverage but for bookmakers and purists, horse racing is booming as big as it ever has been across the British Isles.
The frequency with which races take place is central to its appeal. Every day in the calendar year (apart from Christmas Day) sees horse racecourses up and down the country hosting highly competitive races. This is a godsend for bookmakers and punters alike as they look to keep their respective bank balances ticking over.
Grade 1 races still make up a huge part of the overall UK sporting calendar – with the likes of the Grand National, Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Epson Derby still having the ability to stop the nation, much like it did at the start of the 1900’s.
With so much variety and opportunity within UK horse racing, understanding the ins and outs of specific racecourses can hugely benefit punters in their pursuit of winning bets.
Here is a guide to the active, professional racecourses in the UK:
Aintree – Home of the Grand National and a track that favours strong travelling types.
Ascot – Arguably the most famous flat racecourse in the country, famous uphill finish but that favours those with plenty of pace
Ayr – Infamous Scottish track that often hosts races on the soft – National Hunt racing only.
Bangor – Only UK race course in North Wales, track known for fast finishes and unpredictability.
Bath – Situated in the picturesque city of Bath, known to suit faster type horses.
Beverley – One of Yorkshire’s finest courses, generally a real slog – particularly in winter conditions.
Brighton – Undulating course on the sea front, another track where anything can happen.
Carlisle – A real war of attrition normally at the Cumbrian course, where only the best stayers prevail.
Cartmel – Known for its speed, Cartmel is a true test of every horses’ calibre.
Catterick – Another stellar Yorkshire racecourse, known for its speedy downhill finish.
Chelmsford – Essex’s all weather track hosts flat races throughout the calendar year.
Cheltenham – The ultimate test in National Hunt racing, with the flagship Cheltenham Festival taking place in March.
Chepstow – Situated on the border between England and Wales, Chepstow always provides a stern test.
Chester – On the banks of the River Dee, Chester is one of the most iconic flat racecourses in the country.
Doncaster – Doncaster is one of the most genuine tracks in the country, for both flat and jump racing.
Epsom – Hosting the Derby, Epsom is one of the most recognisable racecourses on the UK flat racing calendar.
Exeter – Down on the South coast, Exeter is a real test for every horse that races there.
Fakenham – One of Norfolk’s few race tracks is a staple in the National Hunt calendar.
Ffos Las – South Wales’ only racecourse and it is known for the stamina needed to get round.
Fontwell – Known as one of the quickest tracks on the circuit, Fontwell is always a test of course management.
Goodwood – Host to the Glorious Goodwood festival in August, it is one of the quickest tracks in the country.
Hamilton – An iconic Scottish racetrack that tests every jockey to the limit in terms of course negotiation.
Haydock – Merseyside has plenty of excellent racecourses and Haydock is one of the very best of them.
Hexham – Stamina is the name of the game in Hexham, which often sees inclement weather up in the North East.
Huntingdon – The Huntingdon track in Cambridgeshire has always favoured quicker horses.
Kempton – One of London’s most popular tracks, Kempton hosts both jump and flat racing all year round.
Leicester – A flat track known for speed; photo finishes are commonplace in Leicester.
Lingfield – All-weather and turf racing are both on the agenda at Lingfield, which is one of the most active racecourses in the country.
Ludlow – Set in the idyllic Shropshire countryside, Ludlow is always a real test of every National Hunt horse and jockey.
Market Rasen – Another of Lincolnshire’s many tracks, Market Rasen is well established on the National Hunt calendar.
Musselburgh – One of Scotland’s most beautiful courses, Musselburgh is another very speedy track.
Newbury – A jewel in the flat racing crown, Newbury hosts incredible racing in the UK summer.
Newcastle – Both the all-weather and turf tracks at Newcastle are often real tests of stamina.
Newmarket – The July Course and the Rowley Course are two of the most iconic flat racing tracks on the schedule.
Newton Abbot – A course known for its beauty; Newton Abbot races are one of the biggest events in the year in Devon.
Nottingham – Nottingham is well known for its speedy going and fast finishes, all year round.
Perth – Another of Scotland’s famous racecourses, gets every horse racing from a long way out.
Plumpton – A tricky National Hunt course set in the Sussex countryside.
Pontefract – Stamina is the name of the game at Pontefract – another of Yorkshire’s most famous courses.
Redcar – Redcar is one of the few tracks situated in the North East and it is known for its unpredictability.
Ripon – Speed is the name of the game at Ripon, where fast horses usually prevail.
Salisbury – One of the most iconic courses in the country, Salisbury is known for its beauty.
Sandown – A British racing institution, Sandown is a real test for every horse with its uphill finish.
Sedgefield – Few tests on the schedule are as difficult as Sedgefield, for rookie and experienced riders alike.
Southwell – Both the all-weather and turf tracks at Southwell are all about pace.
Stratford – Infamous National Hunt course set on the banks of the River Avon.
Taunton – One of Somerset’s few racecourses, Taunton is a test for every National Hunt jockey.
Thirsk – Thirsk is well known for its ability to provide long odds winners – with its seemingly never ending home straight.
Towcester – Few tests are as stern as a visit to the Northamptonshire course – known for being tough going all year round.
Uttoxeter – The undulating course at Uttoxeter is a challenge for every horse, throughout the National Hunt season.
Warwick – Slick jumpers generally prevail at Warwick where speed is the name of the game.
Wetherby – The Yorkshire course hosts both flat and National Hunt races all year round.
Wincanton – With large fences on the National Hunt course, few jumping tests are as severe as Wincanton.
Windsor – Photo-finishes are commonplace at Windsor, where speed always wins the day.
Wolverhampton – An all-weather track known for high race frequency; Wolverhampton has a habit of producing strange results.
Worcester – Set on the River Severn, Worcester is always a test for National Hunt and flat racers alike.
Yarmouth – Situated on the Norfolk Coast line, Yarmouth is a proper test of stamina and course management.
York – The iconic York racecourse is situated in the heart of the city and hosts some of the biggest events on the flat racing calendar.
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