Hereford Racecourse

Address:
Racecourse House, Roman Road, Hereford, HR4 9QU - Map & Directions
Telephone:
01432 273560
Hereford Racecourse Stands
Hereford Racecourse (Ruth Harris / geograph.org.uk)

Nestled between the heart of the cathedral city Hereford and the charming Herefordshire countryside, you’ll find the conveniently located Hereford Racecourse. It’s been a key part of the local community for centuries with its roots dating back to 1771, making it one of the oldest racecourses in the country. Much has changed since this date of course, most drastically in 1960 when the course underwent mass modernising, including the installation of a photo-finish camera.

The financial investment prepared Hereford well for the increase in traffic that following during the early 1970s. The closure of the nearby Stockton Racecourse meant that the number of race days Hereford hosted jumped from 9 to 15. More change followed shortly after the turn of the new millennium when Northern Racing, led by Sir Stanley Clarke, purchased the course for £3m. In 2012, the company merged with Arena Leisure to form Arena Racing Company (ARC), who now account for 39% of British racing fixtures.

The year of the merger was also the year thoroughbred racing at Hereford ceased after ARC failed to obtain a new lease. Although the course remained open for some Arabian Racing and the occasional Point to Point fixture, the final thoroughbred meeting took place on December 16th, 2012. It reopened its doors less than four years later, however, with 5,000 racegoers coming to the course to see some National Hunt action on 6th October, 2016.

Ticket Prices

Standard admission to Hereford usually costs £15 if booked online in advance or £18 when tickets are purchased on the gate. A variety of concessionary discounts are available when purchasing at the course on the day: £2 for senior citizens, £3 for Racegoers Club or Elite Racing Club members and free admission for carers of disabled customers. Just bring valid ID with you. Children under 18 are admitted free when accompanied by an adult (and again, ID is recommended).

One of the most popular ticket options is the Punter’s Package, costing £22, which can be purchased online up until the day of the fixture. On top of admission, the package also entitles you to a racecard, drinks coupon and £5 betting voucher, representing a saving of £13 compared to what it would cost on the day. You’re already winning!

The Course

Hereford Jumps Racecourse Map

Hereford hosts exclusively National Hunt action with nine fences dotted across its almost square-shaped steeplechase course. The right-handed track is fairly easy to manage on the whole but the downhill turn into the home straight is on the sharper side and can catch some out. From here, it’s more downhill running to the line meaning that those stuck further back often find it difficult to make up ground.

Despite never hosting any top, top quality National Hunt races, contests at Hereford tend to be run at a decent pace as you can see from their very decent times. This is not the case during the wetter months though, as the ground has a habit of getting very testing during mid-winter. Regardless of conditions, Hereford stands as popular place among West Country and Lambourn trainers to give their horses some valuable experience before moving on to bigger and better things.

Exciting Endings

Neither jockeys nor horses have too much to think about for much of their time racing at Hereford, at least, that is, until they approach the final bend. As the pace edges up a little, travelling nicely coming into the last right-handed turn is so crucial as failing to do so will see rivals gain some vital yards. The final fence is the trickiest of the lot too and it’s not unusual to see quickening legs make a mistake as they attempt to pass it.

There is a further danger to come after clearing the last obstacle on both the hurdle and steeplechase course as the track at Hereford widens out. Some horses end up wandering to one side as a result, unable to keep on the straight and narrow.

The run-in on either course is not a long one but it can seem a lot further if your horse begins drifting and looking around at its surroundings. Leads here are not overly secure as a result, especially if there are other, more focussed runners lingering not far behind.

Major Meetings at Hereford

Hereford Racecourse
Hereford Racecourse (Ruth Harris / geograph.org.uk)

In common with most smaller courses in the UK and Ireland, Hereford doesn’t host any major meetings that really grab the attention of the racing public. That said, each year Hereford hosts 14 days of National Hunt action with the standout fixture being Ladies’ Day, which now takes place in the winter. It’s the social highlight of the year at this course and one that offers prizes for those deemed to be the best dressed.

Dining and Hospitality

Hereford Racecourse Views
Views at Hereford Racecourse (Jonathan Billinger / geograph.org.uk)

The Rusty Bridge restaurant is the place to go if you want to enjoy a fine dining experience alongside the racing action. The Silver package, starting at £75 per head, allows you to enjoy a delicious three-course meal on a reserved table with a complimentary racecard. Upgrading to the Gold package costs an extra £14 with the additional benefits including a glass of Prosecco on arrival, an afternoon cheese board and a £5 betting voucher.

To enjoy views of the stunning countryside, patrons can pay an additional £10 to buy their package with a window table included. Note that admission is included in the price of all Rusty Bridge restaurant packages.

Map

Swap Start/End

Grudge Matches