Bangor-On-Dee Racecourse Guide

Bangor Racecourse
Bangor Racecourse (Geoff Evans / geograph.org.uk)

Bangor-On-Dee Racecourse is one of three active racecourses in Wales and the only one to be based in the north of the country. It is surrounded by the picturesque Welsh countryside and with little in the way to obstruct the view, the small racecourse certainly has a lot of charm to it.

Although busier in the late autumn and winter, Bangor-On-Dee provides National Hunt racing more or less all year round and offers a good mix of weekend and mid-week meets. There are usually around 15 meetings per year. It is known for being the only racecourse in Britain that does not have a grandstand, so it’s always a good idea to bring your umbrella with you when you are there.

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Map

Swap Start/End

The Course

You won’t see many courses quite like Bangor, recognised as being quite a challenging course due its narrowness and number of turns. Its almost triangular shape means some of the left handed bends are fairly sharp too, so agile horses tend to fare better here.

It’s also a fairly small track, just one and a half miles all the way round, with a very short run in of just one furlong. It is full of fences though, nine in total, and this has made it an excellent track to get in some valuable jump practice for promising novices.

Major Races

With Bangor-On-Dee being quite a small and low-key venue, there are no genuinely major races that take place here. It does hold some reasonably lucrative contests however, such as the Anne Duchess of Westminster Memorial Handicap Steeple Chase which carries prize money of £26,000.

Many people are attracted to Bangor-On-Dee because of its point-to-point racing. While far from a big spectacle, the amateur racing provides a different horse racing experience and a chance to see some hopeful jockeys and horses try to make a name for themselves. The point-to-point racing takes place on the inside of the track and is run right-handed.

Visiting

Bangor Racecourse from Above
Bangor Racecourse from Above (David Davies / geograph.org.uk)

If you ever fancy the trip to Bangor then here is some important information worth reading before you make the trip.

Useful Info

Dress Code

There is no formal dress code at Bangor-On-Dee, although smart casual is recommended.

Ticket Prices

There are two types of tickets available at Bangor. The first is for the Paddock Enclosure which costs £20 on the day or £17 in advance and the second is for the Course Enclosure which costs £10 on the day or £7 in advance.

All online transactions carry a £2.50 administration fee, regardless of how many tickets you purchase. You can also pay an additional £10 which will allow you to bring your own gazebo that can be pitched inside the course enclosure. Under 16s receive free entry to all meets and prices are cheaper for point-to-point racing.

Membership

Membership at Bangor costs £199 for the year or £130 between July and December. Annual membership entitles you to free entry to 17 days of racing at Bangor as well as 35 reciprocal days at selected other meetings across the UK.

Aside from this, members will receive a premium car parking space, a free racecard at every meet and the chance to visit Yorton Farm Stud during a selected date in the spring.

Getting There

Bangor-On-Dee is easily accessible by road and is just a 45 minute car journey from Liverpool or one hour from Manchester. The other option of getting to the course is to take one of the few trains that go to Wrexham General Station. From there a free bus service will take you to the track, 90 minutes before the start of the first race.

Parking

Parking is free for all racegoers for every single fixture during the year.

History

Bangor Racecourse from Above
Bangor Racecourse in 1930 (Unknown / commons.wikimedia.org)

Racing at Bangor-On-Dee dates back to 1858 and a two way cross country contest between Richard Myddelton Biddulp and the Hon. Lloyd Kenyon, who were both members of the Sir Watkin Williams Wynn's Hunt. The former cruised to victory and claimed the rather substantial - in those days at any rate - £50 prize money.

Such was the interest in this race that the decision was made to have a whole day of racing and a year later that’s exactly what happened. In February 1859, the first chase meeting took place at Bangor Is-y-Coed, largely where the racing takes place today, with the opening event attracting 12 runners in total.

Notable Jockeys

In the earlier years, Bangor also hosted an annual race for ponies under 14 hands and in 1868 it was won by a 10 year old boy called Fred Archer, who later amassed a career record of 2,748 wins from 8,084 starts. He is regarded as one of the greatest jockeys of all time and it was at Bangor where his journey began.

Bangor is no stranger to top jockeys and it was also the first proper course that Dick Francis ever competed on. Although he finished unplaced, his experiences in north Wales only further increased his desire to become a jockey. He eventually returned and secured his first taste of victory here on May 3rd 1947, with a winning margin of more than 200 yards.