Leicester Racecourse

The Racecourse, Oadby, Leicester, LE2 4AL - Map & Directions
01162 716515
Club Members at Leicester Racecourse
Club Members at Leicester Racecourse (Richard Humphrey / geograph.org.uk)

An accessible and fun family day out located in the Midlands, racing has been taking place at Leicester since before 1773. It is used mainly as a way for trainers to evaluate the form and progress of their horse before entering them in major meetings, but it is still a very popular race day. There is racing all throughout the year at Leicester, as it hosts both flat and National Hunt events, with a minimum of one race meeting each month and over thirty fixtures each and every year. Leicester was the home to the famous ‘Flackton Grey’ ringer betting scandal in 1982, in which trainers were caught betting money on a horse they had replaced with one a lot older and stronger than it’s competitors, which caused suspicion due to the incredible ease with which it won the race.

Leicester racecourse is just three miles form the city centre, situated near junction 21 of the M1 and M69. For those travelling by train, the station is only two miles form the racecourse, with regular services from London St. Pancras and a reliable bus service connection available on race days, making access by both public and private transport a doddle.

Ticket Prices

Leicester racecourse ticket prices are very reasonable, with entry to the Premier Enclosure priced at just £19, whilst grandstand access costs £15. The enclosure costs £12 to enter whilst all concession prices range between £10 and £13 depending on the race meeting.

Similarly, access to the picnic enclosure costs between £24 and £30, varying on the occasion. Under-18s are allowed entry free of charge when accompanied by a full paying adult, whilst the site car park is free to use for all customers.

The Course

Leicester Racecourse Map Flat & Jumps

The flat course at Leicester is right-handed and galloping in nature, measuring 1m6f in circumference. Shaped like the letter P, it also features a long straight, which hosts races up to seven furlongs in length. Longer contests are held exclusively on the round circuit which features a lengthy run-in of around five furlongs. The run-in begins downhill then turns into a stiff uphill climb before things level out as horses near the finishing post.

The hurdles course shares the same characteristics as the flat track as the seven obstacles are placed on the very same course when it’s time for National Hunt racing. As the flat course is watered over the summer though, this often means hurdlers face more testing conditions than chasers and subsequently races are more steadily run.

The steeplechase course is also 1m6f in circumference, containing 10 fences that are on the tougher side particularly the second down the back straight. The ground here is, as alluded to, sometimes a little firmer though, at least early in the season, and so speed may be favoured.

Murky Draw Bias Picture

When examining the figures for both five and seven furlong races, you’ll find little compelling evidence of draw bias here at Leicester. Partly it’s because there’s a lack of five furlong races but there are more than enough seven furlong events to get a clear enough picture when it comes to these. The plentiful data does not point to any bias though, making it hard to explain why there seems so much of it for six furlong contests, which are run on exactly the same track.

A look at almost 200 races over the decade between 2009 and 2019 featuring at least eight runners shows us that low drawn winners had a win percentage almost twice as much as those drawn high. The differences are stark across the board with Impact Values (IV) miles apart at 1.35 versus 0.77 as well as level stakes which sees low drawn horses up £34 and high drawn down £270. With the number of races examined, it’s hard to dispute the six furlong bias exists but why it’s not present over five or seven furlongs remains much of a mystery.

Dwellers Not Without Hope

Leicester is certainly proving to be quite the curious course when looking for types of bias. A review of 5f handicaps showed that out of 88 front runners, 19 got themselves to the line first. This strike rate of 21.6% makes it one of the best performing tracks for prominent horses in the country. With an IV of 1.91 to boot, you’d think those left trailing deep at Leicester will always be made to suffer.

This is surprisingly not the case though, with the East Midlands course also proving to be one the best tracks for hold up horses. They did only manage a strike rate of 9% but this is significantly above the national 5f handicap average of 6.7%. All in all, when it comes to pace, Leicester is a fair course, and suits most types of horses equally well.

Major Meetings at Leicester

Andrea Atzeni
Andrea Atzeni, Jockey (Ogiyoshisan / Wikipedia.org)

The highlight race of the year at Leicester is the Richard III Stakes, formerly known as the Leicestershire Stakes. The race was given its current name in 2013 after the skeleton of Richard III was discovered and identified nearby. Established in 1978, the Stakes is run annually in April over a distance of 7f and nine yards.

The 2014 winner of the race was Eton Forever, ridden by Andrea Atzeni (pictured in this section), whilst winners of the race more often than not go onto group honours later in the season.

Dining and Hospitality

The Track at Leicester Racecourse
The Track at Leicester Racecourse (Richard Humphrey / geograph.org.uk)

Private hospitality boxes at Leicester are priced at just £599 per box for 12 guests, although Ladies Day prices are slightly pricier. 12 guests on Ladies Day is valued at £2,000 + VAT, whilst a box for 30 guests is also available for £3750 + VAT. Alternatively, customers are invited to eat in the Nelson Restaurant, with the menu costing as little as £67 per head.


Swap Start/End