Windsor Racecourse

The Racecourse, Windsor, Berkshire, SL4 5JJ - Map & Directions
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Entrance to Windsor Racecourse
Entrance to Windsor Racecourse (Robin Webster /

Otherwise known as Royal Windsor, Windsor racecourse is located in Berkshire and alongside Fontwell Park it is one of just two figure of eight courses in the UK. Sitting on the banks of the River Thames, just two miles from Windsor Castle and just down the road from Legoland, the racecourse is very popular with both local people and tourists. Although Windsor has a history of horse racing, dating back to the reign of Henry VIII, the first official race day on the current site didn’t take place until 1866. Windsor previously hosted both flat and National Hunt racing but has recently abandoned the jumps programme from the racing calendar. In October 2012, famous jockey Richard Hughes won seven out of eight races in one day. Windsor racecourse featured in several scenes in Fred Schepisi’s 2001 film Last Order starring Michael Caine and Dame Helen Mirren.

Windsor is very easy to access, particularly for those driving, and visitors are encouraged to exit the M4 at J6 and take the A332 to Windsor. Following a slip road that is signposted A308 and Windsor racecourse, turn onto Maidenhead Road and the racecourse is slightly further along that road. The nearest train stations are Windsor and Eton Central, Windsor and Eton Riverside or Slough. All three are close by the town centre and have taxi ranks available directly outside. Whether it is for convenience or just the experience of trying something new, many visitors to Windsor racecourse elect to take the river taxi service along the River Thames, which is available for all race meetings and leaves form Barry Avenue Promenade in Windsor town centre. The river trip takes just ten minutes and a full bar facility is available on board if you want to start the drinking early.

Ticket Prices

The cheapest tickets available at Windsor racecourse are for the Silver Ring and these are available for just £9. Access to the grandstand and club enclosures is priced at £18 and £22 respectively. Tickets may be cheaper when purchased in advance online, although some booking fees may apply.

A free public car park is available for all visitors, whilst children under the age of 18 are allowed entry to all enclosures free of charge with a full paying adult, although, as at all tracks proof of age may be required.

The Course

Windsor Flat Racecourse Map

The flat course at Windsor is run right handed in a figure of eight shape. Races used to run all the way round, but since the removal of jumps races the lower bend is now used exclusively as a pulling area. The course measures at 1m4f in circumference and is predominantly flat, although there is one notable dip prior to the end of the home straight that can catch out inexperienced horses or jockeys.

Although a right-handed track, horses in 1m3½f races must take on a left handed bend early on as well. Five and six furlong contests take place on the straight track, which joins to the main circuit’s lengthy run-in just after the five furlong start.

The long finish suits galloping types but the amount of turning required in longer races means it’s not a course where they dominate. Many find the final bend, otherwise known as ‘carnage corner’, particularly tricky and when cautious runners slow down here, the rest are forced to follow and congestion is not uncommon.

High Draw Advantage Overstated

It has long been said that high drawn runners fare better at Windsor over five and six furlongs. While the stats do back this up, they also reveal that the advantage is a minor one to say the least. A look at 345 sprints at Windsor to feature 10+ runners shows that high drawn horses had a winning rate of 9% and a return of investment (ROI) of -28%. This is only marginally better than low drawn runners who had an 8% win rate and -39% ROI.

The only thing to bear in mind with this, however, is that when the ground is particularly testing, it does pay to be on the outside. On ground soft or worse, you’ll usually see jockeys head to the far side and for good reason. The bias doesn’t really show on just soft ground but when looking at the 13 races run on heavy going, low drawn runners won just two of them. This is small sample size but it’s a fairly well-established fact that the ground towards the far rail doesn’t become quite so boggy after a period of prolonged downpours.

Major Meetings at Windsor

Windsor Racecourse from River Thames
Windsor Racecourse from River Thames (Steve Daniels /

One of the most popular races run at Windsor is the Winter Hill Stakes, which was established in 1986. The race is run over 1m2f each August and Frankie Dettori remains the leading jockey in the race, with an impressive five wins to his name, the most recent of which came in 2013. The 2014 winner of the Winter Hill Stakes was George Baker, who successfully rode to victory on Al Kazeem.

Another important race is the August Stakes, which was first run in 2000 over a distance of 1m3f. George Baker also won the 2014 outing, this time on Glorious Protector and he was able to complete the race in the fastest ever time. There are 26 fixtures each year at Windsor and other notable races include the Leisure Stakes, the Midsummer Stakes and the Royal Windsor Stakes.

Dining and Hospitality

Windsor Course
Windsor Course (Richard Humphrey /

In terms of private and corporate hospitality suites at Windsor, there are a number of packages available. Each varying in price due to different menus, facilities and bar options The most affordable option is the Coronation package, which starts at £130 per person, the Jubilee package is priced at £165 per person, whilst the most expensive option is the Royal package, which is available for a not-insignificant £225 per person.

Alternatively, a Summer BBQ package is available for those who wish to enjoy hospitality in the sun – and don’t mind a gamble on the weather - with prices starting from as little as £89.


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