Great Yarmouth Racecourse

Address:
The Racecourse, Jellicoe Road, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, NR30 4AU - Map & Directions
Telephone:
01493 842527
The Entrance to Great Yarmouth Racecourse
The Entrance to Great Yarmouth Racecourse (JThomas / geograph.org.uk)

Located just one-mile north of Great Yarmouth town centre, the racecourse has been in use since 1715, when race meetings used to coincide with the annual county fair where events such as donkey racing and pig chasing also took place. Over 100 years later in 1819, the racing calendar began to take Great Yarmouth seriously and started recording races officially, with thoroughbred races and proper prize money.

Racing at Great Yarmouth was always just a two-day fixture before new meetings were added in 1866 and there are now up to 20 flat race meetings each year between March and October. In 1904 the local authority took up ownership of the track and funded improvements that the council would have been unable to, including the installation of an additional grandstand. They remain minority shareholders to this day, however Arena Racing Company (formerly Northern Racing) owns the majority of the site, as well as other tracks including Southwell, Newcastle and Doncaster.

The racecourse can be accessed via either the A47 or A12 depending on where visitors are travelling from, with yellow AA road signs directing the way from Great Yarmouth. Great Yarmouth station is just one mile from the course and easily within walking distance, with regular services from Norwich. Buses and taxis are available to those who would prefer this option.

Ticket Prices

Entry to the Grandstand and Paddock at Great Yarmouth is priced at just £15, with Premier access available for as little as £22. Under-18s are permitted entry free of charge when accompanied by a full paying adult, contributing to a very reasonable family day out.

The Course

Great Yarmouth Flat Racecourse Map

Shaped rather like a narrow oblong, the course at Great Yarmouth is 1m5f in length and is run left-handed. A course exclusively for flat racing, the track has no undulations bar a mild fall just before the long 5f run-in. Thanks to this, and another long straight on the opposite side, it’s a true galloping destination and a beautiful place for jockeys to ride.

The 5f run-in is joined at the home turn by a 3½f chute which is used for races up to one mile long. It’s this straight which went underwent extensive levelling work in 2015, turning it into one of the best straight mile courses in the UK. So wonderfully smooth and level, it’s also one of the fairest too, although perhaps not over the minimum distance of five furlongs as you’ll soon find out.

A Curious Case of Bias

Every race between 5f 43y and 1m 3y takes place on Yarmouth’s recently renovated straight course but the optimal place to start varies depending on the distance. For five furlong contests, having looked at the results of 59 races (2009-19) featuring eight or more runners, high drawn horses won three times more often than those low drawn. Betting £1 on every high drawn runner in this time, you’d have pocketed yourself £61 in profit compared to a £92 loss for those drawn low. That’s a fairly serious bias and well worth noting.

Somewhat bizarrely though, the bias disappears completely when looking at six furlong races. It doesn’t reappear for seven or eight furlong contests either and we’ve far more data to work with for these longer distances. Is it a case that we’ve simply got an anomaly with five furlong races and over time there will prove to be no bias? That is of course possible but the levelling of the course in 2015 may actually be enough to keep some amount of bias.

Levelling Work Produces Minor Shift

In order to maximise data for our draw analysis, we looked at races between September 2009 and August 2019 but it’s important to remember that Yarmouth’s straight course underwent extensive redevelopment in 2014.

The work reached completion in March 2015 and although it only sought to level the track, it appears to have inadvertently created a touch of outside bias. Prior to the changes there was really no bias to speak of on the straight course overall but high drawn winners have since enjoyed a little more in the way of success.

It is unclear exactly what may have caused this with a couple of arguments put forward. In the coming years, we may get a clearer picture and a better idea of what bias now exists and why it is the case.

Major Meetings at Great Yarmouth

Ouija Board, Horse
Ouija Board, Horse (Rudolph.A.furtado / Wikipedia.org)

The most valuable race of the season at Great Yarmouth is the John Musker Fillies’ Stakes, with a prize purse of £40,000. The one and a quarter mile race was established in 1993 and is run every September.

Previous winners at Great Yarmouth include Ouija Board (pictured in this section), who went on to win the English and Irish Oaks, before doing well at the Breeder’s Cup in the USA. Similarly, Wilk, Raven’s Pass and Donativum have all won at Great Yarmouth on their way to Breeder’s Cup success.

Dining and Hospitality

Great Yarmouth Racecourse
Great Yarmouth Racecourse (Bob Crook / geograph.org.uk)

Hospitality packages at Great Yarmouth are designed to cater for up to 200 guests and come in four separate price bands – bronze, silver, gold and platinum. The prices for these packages start at £62.50 per head and can go as high as £95 each.

The hospitality areas at Yarmouth are also available throughout the year on non-race days, to host business conferences, parties or weddings, with prices for these obtainable via contact with the racecourse.

Map

Swap Start/End

Grudge Matches