Worcester Racecourse

Address:
The Grandstand, Grandstand Road, Worcester, WR1 3ET - Map & Directions
Telephone:
01905 25364
Worcester Racecourse
Worcester Racecourse (Stephen McKay /geograph.org.uk)

Located in the West Midlands, just under 20 miles from Birmingham, Worcester racecourse has hosted horse racing since 1718, making it one of the oldest tracks around. Otherwise known as Pitchcroft, the course is regarded as one of the most beautiful in the UK due to being trapped on one side by the River Severn. The proximity of the river has proved troublesome in the past as in recent years the course has been forced to close on more than one occasion due to flooding. Worcester is exclusively used for National Hunt racing but hosted flat races for many years, until the flat racing programme was abandoned in 1966. Worcester now holds meetings predominantly in the summer jumping season, partly as a side effect of the threat of floods.

Those electing to drive to Worcester are advised take the M5 and leave at J6, before following the A449 towards Worcester city centre, where brown directional signs lead to the racecourse. Both the centre course car park and stable yard car park are available to use for free. Worcester Foregate railway station is the closest station to the course and is just a ten-minute walk away. The station is frequented by regular services from London Paddington and there is a taxi rank available directly outside.

Ticket Prices

Entry to the County enclosure is priced at just £17 whilst access to the centre course is available from as little as £8. There are heavy discounts for groups who choose to book online, whilst customers under the age of 18 are allowed entry to all areas free of charge if they are with a full paying adult, although naturally age identification may be required. Similarly, a £2 discount is available for customers over the age of 65, again with proof of age advised to avoid any inconvenience.

The Course

Worcester Track
Worcester Track (Lewis Clarke / geograph.org.uk)

The National Hunt course at Worcester is predominantly flat with no obvious undulations or elements of incline to note. The course is run left-handed around an oval measuring 1m5f in circumference. Due to the long, flat straights and gradual long bends, the course suits horses of all abilities and experiences and it is generally ranked as an easy, galloping track.

The steeplechase course consists of eight fences, four down either straight with an open ditch standing three out from the finishing post. As the fences are of the portable nature, they take little skill to jump over, making Worcester one of the easiest steeplechase destinations in the country and a good place for inexperienced chasers to visit.

The hurdles course features just six flights, which once again are split evenly – three positioned in each straight. Hurdlers face a harder time over the obstacles as Worcester uses the stiffer, brush type version here. In spite of this, causality rates during hurdles are well below the national average.

Gallopers Galore

Much like Newbury, Worcester is a place most suited to gallopers thanks to its long straights and easy turns. A horse that performs well at one of the courses is likely to fare well at the other as a result. Competing here during winter is not an option, largely due to the flood risk posed by the nearby River Severn, but as far as summer racing destinations go, gallopers will struggle to find any better.

Unchallenging fences allow the long-striding sorts to barely lose their stride or rhythm when jumping and jockeys have plenty of time to measure up each obstacle to allow for a smooth ride. Combined with good conditions underfoot, which are a common occurrence, horses tend to finish here strongly, meaning it’s hard for those far back to make up much distance should they fall behind.

As a result, despite the long-run, racing handily is usually a wise approach for jockeys. Should any rider lose with the better horse then they’ve only themselves to blame as hard luck stories are most certainly few and far between at Worcester.

Major Meetings at Worcester

Stand at Worcester Racecourse
Stand at Worcester Racecourse (Bill Boaden / geograph.org.uk)

Between April and October there are around 20 National Hunt meetings held at Worcester. The two most famous races held there are the Worcester Stakes and the Worcester Gold Cup, both of which have been around since the mid 19th century.

Dining and Hospitality

Private suites at Worcester are able to house between 12 and 42 guests, depending on availability. All-inclusive packages are on offer for as little as £79 + VAT per person. Alternatively, course side marquees are available for parties consisting of between 20 and 200 guests, again priced at just £79 + VAT per person. The overall facilities at Worcester are not as varied or developed as at top tracks, although the packages mentioned above are all great value.

Map

Swap Start/End

Grudge Matches