Wolverhampton Racecourse

Gorsebrook Road, Wolverhampton, West Midlands, WV6 0PE - Map & Directions
01902 390000
Entrance to Wolverhampton Racecourse
Entrance to Wolverhampton Racecourse (Mike Dodman / geograph.org.uk)

Situated in the West Midlands, Wolverhampton racecourse holds regular meetings; particularly in the evenings via the use of floodlights and it was the first racecourse in the UK to become floodlit. Racing has been taking place in Wolverhampton since 1825, but meetings didn’t move to the current course until 1887, where racing has been consistent ever since.

Wolverhampton has had an artificial turf surface since 1993, as it was installed as part of the same redevelopment that saw the introduction of floodlights. Following the takeover by Arena Leisure in 2004, the fibre sand track was replaced with a polytrack surface in 2004, although this only lasted ten years and in 2014 the course temporarily closed for several months for further refurbishment, including the polytrack turf being replaced with a state of the art Tapeta track. The redevelopment in the 1990s also saw a brand new grandstand built, as well as a new restaurant, executive boxes and an on-site hotel. A new £26m redevelopment is expected in 2015, which will see the hotel triple in size, although long-term plans to create the UK’s first ever “racino” (that’s an on-site casino if you hadn’t worked that out!) have ultimately been axed.

Those choosing to drive to Wolverhampton are advised to leave the M54 at J2 and follow the A449 to Wolverhampton. From then, follow the brown tourist signs to Dunstall Park, which is the location of the course. For those travelling by train, Wolverhampton railway station is just two miles from the course, frequented by services form several major cities. A taxi rank is available directly outside the station, although getting a taxi back from the course to the station or town can be something of a scrum on busy meetings.

Ticket Prices

Standard entry prices for access to the grandstand start from just £10, although prices for all enclosures are increased for the popular annual fixture held on Boxing Day. Entry to the premier enclosure starts at £15 for midweek fixtures, whilst this is raised to £20 for race meetings held on weekends.

Customers should note that the prices of tickets are increased further for those wishing to access any entertainment that is advertised. Children aged under 18 are allowed access to all enclosures free of charge, but only when accompanied by a full paying adult and subject to providing proof of age if requested.

The Course

Wolverhampton AW Flat Racecourse Map

Wolverhampton only hosts flat races and due to the all-weather track, it’s able to accommodate racing all year round in almost all conditions. Initially a fibresand course, Wolverhampton replaced the surface with polytrack in 2004 before switching once again (to Tapeta) during the summer of 2014.

The left-handed oval circuit measures just under a mile in length and features two short straights, less than two furlongs long which are connected to a pair of long gradual bends. There are two small chutes to avoid races of various distances from beginning on bends but the vast majority of races takes place on the main circuit.

A Complicated Bias Picture

Wolverhampton regularly attracts fields with double digit runners so we’ve absolutely no shortage of data when attempting to find evidence of draw bias. We’re up to our knees in data since the course switched to Tapeta and there’s plenty to report despite Wolves being quite a fair course.

It’s at five furlongs where you might expect the strongest bias but in races with 10+ runners there’s really very little in it. Low drawn horses had a very mild disadvantage with an impact value (IV) of 0.95 but they did also place the most, making the fame 34% of the time.

In slightly longer six furlong races, the picture changes, with high drawn runners struggling slightly, posting an IV of 0.83 and a -30% return on investment. Over 7f and 1m 141y, high drawn horses return to near parity but not when upping the minimum number of runners to 12. In these slightly larger fielders, an outside run has been a massive disadvantage as shown by their poor 5% win rate and 0.62 IV.

The picture is little better for 1½m with low drawn horses winning 11% of contests compared to just 6% for those drawn high. It must be stressed how it’s only in these larger fields where the bias holds true, as when looking at races with just eight or more runners, the stats between draws are almost identical.

Regulars a Regular

The sheer volume of racing at Wolverhampton combined with it being one of just a few all-weather courses in the country means you get horses sent here time and time again. You’d be pushed to call many ‘specialists’ though as Wolves is quite a fair course, which many horses can put in a decent shift at.

If you look the most regular visitors, very few post an especially high strike rate. Almaty Express won 18 of his 91 starts (20%), Failed To Hit triumphed in 14 of 64 (22%) while Buscador won 20% of 60 attempts. To see conversion rates higher than these is unusual, so Wolverhampton is not a place where you should give course form a huge deal of weight.

Speaking of regulars, trainer, David Evans, is a frequent visitor to the Midlands racecourse but we’re offering a word of warning with his runners. He’s upped his game a little in the last few years but he has still posted some worrying numbers at Wolverhampton. Betting £1 on every one of his 3297 runners (as of September 2019) would have seen you lose an enormous £918. A low winning rate of 10% combined with over-valued entries means the Wales-based trainer is one you shouldn’t be quick to place your money on.

Major Meetings at Wolverhampton

Wolverhampton Track
Wolverhampton Track (Derek Harper / geograph.org.uk)

The two most prestigious races held at Wolverhampton are the Lady Wulfruna Stakes and the Lincoln Trial Stakes. The Lady Wulfruna Stakes are run over a sprint distance of 7f and 32 yards each March, with the winner’s prize fund starting at over £28,000.

The winner of this race each year earns the right to compete on Champions Day at Lingfield Park. The Lincoln Trial Stakes are run over one mile and 100 yards, also in March, with the winner given the opportunity to compete in The Lincoln at Doncaster.

Dining and Hospitality

Wolverhampton Racecourse
Wolverhampton Racecourse (Gordon Griffiths / geograph.org.uk)

In terms of restaurants, Wolverhampton racecourse has two luxurious options to choose from. The Ring Side restaurant has brilliant views of the parade ring, with the menu starting at a very affordable £32.95 per person. The panoramic viewing restaurant offers beautiful views of the entire racecourse, with prices starting at just £39.95 per person.

There are a number of bespoke packages available for those wishing to hire a private suite, with a variety of menus and bar options available. Packages start from £69 + VAT per person, with more information available by contacting the racecourse directly.


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