Stratford-upon-Avon Racecourse Guide

In the medieval town of Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare, is a small but well-regarded racecourse which boasts a history stretching over two and a half centuries.

Races take place regularly between March and November and it is jump racing which is on the menu here. For a course of its size, it offers a high amount of prize money which helps it attract some top trainers and jockeys.

Map

Swap Start/End

The Course

Despite being sharp of turn, Stratford’s course is a very speedy one so having a horse that is able to jump when at full pelt without losing precision is of huge benefit. The fact that races are so well run has often led to a lot of causalities on the course. Providing they can manage the fences, ex-flat horses often do well here as the pace of the race can be more to their liking.

The typical fast pace of races also means making up ground is a difficult feat at Stratford, especially with the long sweeping left-handed bend before the home straight. With jockeys not wanting to stray too far behind the front runner, expect them to make a move further from the line than you would expect normally.

Major Races

One of the most anticipated meetings at Stratford is the Hunterchase evening that takes place in May. The star of the show is the Foxhunters Champion Chase, the third leg of the Hunters Chase Crown, following both the Cheltenham and Aintree Foxhunters. At nearly three and a half miles long, it’s a great test of endurance and attracts a high calibre of horses.

Visiting

Stratford typically hosts 19 fixtures a year, many of which fall on a weekend including the popular Ladies Day.

  • Dress Code: There are no formal rules to follow in the Tattersalls and Centre Course but spectators should dress appropriately and with weather conditions in mind. In the Club Enclosure, smart casual attire is the policy and this means no ripped jeans are permitted.
  • Ticket Prices: Normal on the day prices at Stratford see racegoers pay £21 in the Club Enclosure, £17 in the Tattersalls and £10 for centre course admission. A 10% discount is available on all tickets purchased online in advance, at least seven days prior to the meeting, but a £1 booking fee, per ticket (up to a maximum of £5) does apply. Anyone aged 18-24 who wishes to go in the Tattersalls enclosure are best off buying a ticket on the day for a reduced rate of £10 rather than booking online. Under 18’s accompanied by an adult are admitted free of charge.
  • Membership: To see all of Stratford’s racedays plus an additional 40 reciprocal fixtures, annual membership can be purchased for £175. A reduced rate of £100 for seniors and students is available however. There aren’t too many extra perks but members will have access to the private team room which offers complimentary hot drinks and biscuits every raceday.
  • Getting There: For anyone driving to the course, CV37 9SE is the postcode you want to tap into your sat nav. For those looking to go by public transport, trains are your best option. Stratford-upon-Avon train station is located just a 20 minute walk away although taxis are also available outside the station. To get to the station, the best connected major station to Stratford-upon-Avon is Birmingham Moor Street.
  • Parking: The main car park and Centre Course car park costs £3 per car but there is also a free area for parking situated by the main entrance.

History

There is evidence that the prestigious King’s Plate took place at Shottery meadow, close to Stratford-upon-Avon in July 1718 but the first official recorded meeting took place in 1755. Back then Stratford offered a purse of £50 for horses five-year-olds and upwards.

Actor and playwright David Garrick became closely associated with the racecourse and on a Friday meeting in September 1768, a trophy was issued in his honour. In order to spice up the racing some more, a Jubilee Cup was introduced but it only lasted nine years as the complaints of local farmers who said their crops were being ruined, brought all racing to a stop.

The break in racing lasted decades but eventually resumed in 1836. The famous horse, Lottery, would be in attendance three years later, winning a chase here before going onto secure victory in the Grand National. Some further interruptions to the racing schedule occurred after this points including throughout the entirety of World War One.

The Stratford Race Company, which exists today, was formed on 31st January 1922 and have been responsible for developments of the course since. Developments include a new grandstand in 1955 and a new restaurant in 1965. Four years later, extra land was purchased to allow the course to expand and a water jump was placed in front of the stands.