Nottingham Racecourse

Address:
Colwick Park, Colwick Road, Nottingham, NG2 4BE - Map & Directions
Telephone:
01159 580620
Rails at Nottingham
Rails at Nottingham (Alan Murray-Rust / geograph.org.uk)

Situated in Colwick Park not far from the River Trent, Nottingham racecourse has been hosting racing since 1892, having moved from the previous site at Nottingham Forest. In 1965 a local corporation bought the 293-acre site for just £500,000 and for a brief period the future of the track was in doubt, however, the Levy Board funded improvements and the corporation agreed to lease the property out for a fee. In the mid 1990s Nottingham abandoned National Hunt racing to become a course that exclusively hosted flat racing and they currently average around 16 meetings every year, although that number is increasing due to the growing popularity of the sport.

Located just 3km east of the city centre, Nottingham racecourse used to be served by its own station until the line was shut down in the late 1960s. The closest railway station to the course today is Nottingham Midland Station, which is two miles from the course. There is a taxi rank outside to help customers get to the course, or alternatively the number 44 bus or the Link 2 yellow park and ride bus go to the racecourse from the city centre.

Those travelling by car can easily access the course regardless of what direction they’re travelling from, with the A60 or A612 available to those coming form the north. Visitors from the south are encouraged to use the A60 and the A453, whilst those from the east and west should travel via the A52. Once in Nottingham city centre, the brown tourist signs and yellow park and ride signs provide straightforward directions to the racecourse.

Ticket Prices

There is just one ticket entry price band for access to Nottingham, with entry to the grandstand ranging from £9 to £22 depending on what race day it is and whether tickets are purchased in advance or on the day, with generous discounts available for large group bookings. Customers under the age of 18 are allowed access to the course free of charge when accompanied by a full paying adult, although identification may be required.

The Course

Nottingham Racecourse
Nottingham Racecourse (John Sutton / geograph.org.uk)

The main grade 4 course at Nottingham only holds flat racing nowadays, having previously hosted NH as well until 1996. It is shaped almost like a capital D with a small extension chute at the far side to facilitate straight five and six furlong races. There is also an alternate straight sprint course situated on the old hurdles track but in terms of characteristics there’s very little between them. Anything further than a sprint sees horses take to the main left-handed circuit which measures 1m4f all the way around.

The two main bends that sit at either side of the undulating home stretch are sharp in nature although in the case of the top one, not as sharp as it used to be. Previously that particular left-handed bend gave jockeys all sorts of problems until it underwent some realignment work. The bottom bend remains quite tricky though, as to ride it optimally jockeys have to come out to the right before swinging in as they approach the straight.

Draw Only Matters in Big Fields

Nottingham moved the position of the rails in 2009 and shortly after Baby Queen stormed to a 33/1 win from stall 17 of 17. Having failed to make any sort of impression, at exactly the same odds when drawn in stall five a month earlier, there was some early suspicion of some outside draw bias. Now equipped with a much larger data set, we can see that the suspicions were half-true, that those drawn closer to the stands are favoured but only in well-attended races.

When looking at five or six furlong races with eight or more runners, low, mid and high drawn winners have a very similar win percentage, with just a couple of percentage points difference between them. They also all have a place rate of 28% so clearly there appears to be little in the way of bias here.

When increasing the minimum number of runners to 14, however, we can see that in 82 races that took place between October 2009 and August 2019 there is a greater shift towards high drawn horses.

Those with a high number stall won 37 races compared to just 17 for those drawn low. The respective Impact Values (IV) help highlight the divide further with high posting 1.26 and low just 0.67.

It is important to stress, however, that it’s only on the sprint course where outside runners are favoured. For starts eight to 10 furlongs, although the better ground may sometimes be found out wide, the advantage appears to be negated by having to spend more time dealing with the sharp turn into the home straight.

Speed Matters

It has long been thought that handy types fare best on Nottingham’s straight course and the stats back this up. Those that are able to take a keen hold on the race perform distinctly better than those ridden midfield or towards the rear.

A look at 219 front runners at Nottingham in five furlong handicaps shows that 48 ended up winning, giving a strike rate of 21.9% and a very decisive IV of 2.32. With such a high impact value, Nottingham ranks among one of the best courses in the country for prominently ridden sprinters, so think twice if your favoured horse likes to leave it late.

Major Meetings at Nottingham

Meeting at Nottingham Racecourse
Meeting at Nottingham Racecourse (Andy Jamieson / geograph.org.uk)

Nottingham racecourse’s longest serving employee was Mr John Barnett, who served as groundsman for over 25 years and on his 65th birthday a race was named in his honour. On 9th June 2013 14 runners competed in the ‘Happy retirement John Barnett handicap’, on what was his last race meeting in employment.

Two regular races that are considered high profile are the Further Flight Stakes and the Kilvington Fillies’ Stakes. The Further Flight Stakes is run over a distance of 1m6f each April and was first held in 2001, whilst the Kilvington Fillies’ Stakes is run over 6f each May.

Dining and Hospitality

In terms of dining, customers are welcome to eat in Sherwood’s Restaurant for as little as £29 per head. Alternatively, there are private boxes available in a number of affordable price ranges. The VIP Experience Package is priced at £140 + VAT per person, whilst the Premier Package is available for just £105 + VAT per person.

The Classic Package is the cheapest of the regular packages, coming in at as little as £85 + VAT per person. On ‘Family Fun Day’ each year, another package – the Family Fun Package – is available for just £55 + VAT per person.

Map

Swap Start/End

Grudge Matches