Haydock Park Racecourse

Address:
Newton Le Willows, Merseyside, WA12 0HQ - Map & Directions
Telephone:
01942 725963
Haydock Park
Haydock Park (Alexander P Kapp / geograph.org.uk)

Haydock Park is a racecourse located in Merseyside. Although there has been racing in the area for hundreds of years, the course on the current site wasn’t opened until 1899, as there was such a huge demand for a bigger site due to the growing popularity of the sport in the area around the turn of the century. Both flat and National Hunt races are run at Haydock each year, with a total of 32 race meetings taking place throughout 2014.

Haydock Park was awarded Racecourse of the Year in both 1998 and 2000 and among the facilities is a champagne bar to celebrate your big wins! It is a very easy course to access from all directions, situated just one mile from Junction 23 of the M6. The nearest station to Haydock Park is Newton-le-Willows, which is regularly serviced by trains from both Manchester and Liverpool, and with the station just three miles from the track it is easily reached on foot or by taxi. There are also regular bus services from Liverpool city centre.

Ticket Prices

Prices for entry into Haydock Park vary from £13 up to a maximum of £49, depending on what the meeting is and what day of the week it is. Those visiting that are under the age of 17 are allowed entry free of charge when accompanied by an adult paying full price.

The Course

The course at Haydock is mostly flat and is run left-handed. The oval shaped track is 1m5f in circumference with a steep uphill throughout the long and testing four-and-a-half furlong run to the post. That long finish often helps provide great drama on an otherwise gentle course with gradual bends and few undulations. There is also a chute leading onto the home straight which allows for sprint races of up to six furlongs.

As well as the flat course, there is also a National Hunt course on the 127-acre site, with the steeplechase track also measuring 1m5f. There are 10 fences to a circuit and many would consider the difficulty of the obstacles second only to those used on the Grand National course at Aintree, just 13 miles down the East Lancs Road.

The hurdles course is a tiny bit shorter coming in at just shy of 1m5f and has a total of six flights to jump. In recent years, National Hunt action has been reduced to maintain quality. There are only 8 dedicated jump meetings per year as opposed to 23 flat but with 31 meetings in total there is plenty of action at Haydock Park.

Take Centre Stage

We have something of an unusual bias at this course near St Helens and, during sprint races, you’ll often see runners gravitate towards the middle of Haydock’s wide track. It should come as little surprise then that those starting from a central, or fairly central stall have fared the best.

Analysing 97 sprint races that took place between September 2009 and July 2019 and that featured 10 or more runners, we can see that mid-draw runners won 41% of races, significantly better than those drawn high (35%) and low (24%). Not only this but they posted a level stakes profit of £64, quite the contrast to runners on their flank who produced losses of £167 and £140, respectively.

If this bias is genuine, rather than mere statistical anomaly, this suggests that the central bias may have gone under the radar with regards the bookie and the market. This sort of bias is potentially the most valuable so certainly worth considering when you bet at Haydock.

There have been an insufficient number of seven furlong races in recent times to see if the same holds true over this distance but there has been more than enough well-attended one mile contests. As before, it is mid-drawn runners who enjoyed the largest shares of the spoils, with an impressive impact value of 1.21 and level stakes profit of £45. Next in line come those drawn out wide and the numbers state they aren’t at much of a disadvantage. The same cannot be said for horses starting on the inside though as they won just 22% of one mile races and delivered a significant loss to punters backing them.

Fences Deemed Too Tough

In 2007, Haydock bid farewell to its permanent fences in favour of portable ones. The obstacles that had stood before were notoriously tough, in part because of the significant drop that awaited on the other side. This was not an intentional feature though, merely the result of the accretion of soil on the take-off side, and thus the ‘drop fences’ did not return. Combined with a reduction in jumping fixtures, traditionalists voiced their frustration but some were willing to admit that portable fences could still offer a stiff test whilst reducing some of the risk to horses and jockeys.

The people in charge at Haydock certainly managed that, with the course continuing to be known as one of the toughest destinations for chasers. In 2018, however, the BHA deemed that their obstacles were too still tough ahead of Betfair Chase day, one of the biggest dates on Haydock’s calendar.

During a pre-meeting inspection, the course had been instructed to make changes as inspector Chris Dennis felt the fences were excessively high and stiff. Haydock made some adjustments but ones later deemed insufficient as seven horses fell during a single afternoon. Clerk of the course, Kirkland Tellwright, admitted things remained too stiff and he promised to take the edge off for future renewals.

At the time of writing, we don’t know how this will pan out or what impact it will have on racing at Haydock. However, this venue was formerly known as one where brilliant and brave jumping was required and it seems almost certain that the importance of jumping ability will be reduced.

Major Meetings at Haydock Park

The Grandstand at Haydock Park
The Grandstand at Haydock Park (David Long / geograph.org.uk)

There are a number of prestigious races run each year at Haydock, which prove very popular with visitors and those watching on TV. In terms of flat races, the main race is the Dick Hern Fillies’ Stakes, which was run at Bath up until 2011. It is named after the horse trainer Dick Hern who tragically died in 2002. The one mile long race is run every August and was established in 2009.

The other major flat races at Haydock are the Haydock Sprint Cup (established 1966) and the Lancashire Oaks (established 1939), which measure at 6f and 1m3f respectively. The major jump races are the Betfair Chase and the Champion Hurdle Trial. The Chase is run over three miles every September and was first run in 2005, whilst the Hurdle Trial was established in 1988 and is run over two miles every January.

Dining and Hospitality

Haydock Park Racecourse
Haydock Park Racecourse (Alexander P Kapp / geograph.org.uk)

Hospitality packages at Haydock can cater for up to 400 guests, whilst the facilities are also available off-season to host private parties, conferences and weddings. On race days prices for boxes start from £275 + VAT per person, whilst for stag and hen parties the facilities are priced from £102 per head. There are a good variety of dining options to suit various budgets and the food has a good reputation.

Map

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