Beverley Racecourse Guide

The Course at Beverley Race Track
The Course (Stephen Horncastle / geograph.org.uk)

Around 10 miles north of Hull, in the lovely Beverley Westwoods, you will find Beverley Racecourse, a great place to see some live racing at a relaxed and modest venue that caters to everyone from the casual tourist to the most seasoned of racegoers.

A 20 minute walk from the racecourse will take you into the heart of Beverley, a thriving market town which has been voted one of the best places to live in the UK. It’s a wonderfully situated course and with so many things to do nearby, the racecourse is just another reason why Beverley is a place well worth visiting.

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The Course

Beverley might be a little unusual in the fact that it’s a right handed track but its oval shape and length of one mile and three furlongs make it look like a pretty standard track. The run-in isn’t a huge one, but at two and a half furlongs, it’s still a place that witnesses many twists and turns especially as it is largely uphill.

Five furlong races take place down the straight track which steadily rises throughout and also curves sharply to the right. This means that being pushed outside can be a real hindrance in the shortest races. As such there is a significant draw bias at Beverley, arguably the most crucial in the UK. A low draw on the inside is hugely beneficial, with the wider horses having to run further and on ground that slopes against the turn. Longer races will see horses take on the dipping bend at the far end of the course as they try and pick up speed for the run-in.

Major Races

Beverley hosts a range of flat races but often ones of relatively low class. Its range of two year old races see some promising colts and fillies make their competitive debut however, and some of these horses go on to enjoy very successful careers.

As with most of the smaller tracks in the UK and Ireland, Beverley doesn’t host any truly huge festivals or races. That said, it is not entirely void of a significant contest and the five furlong Beverley Bullet Sprint Stakes is the feather in its cap. It’s Beverley’s only race of Listed quality following the 2011 downgrade of the Hilary Needler Trophy and it’s one that carries a prize fund of over £28,000.

Visiting

In the Stands at Beverley Racecourse
In the Stands (Charles Rispin / geograph.org.uk)

While Beverley is far from a formal, expensive or crowded racecourse, it’s always good to know exactly how they do things when planning your visit.

Useful Info

Dress Code

Aside from the Premier Enclosure, all visitors are allowed to wear what they like, so you will have no problems getting in with ripped jeans and trainers. In the Premier Enclosure a smart/casual dress code is enforced and while it’s certainly a good opportunity to dress up, a simple collared shirt with jeans and smart shoes will suffice.

Ticket Prices

The Course Enclosure is the cheapest way to see the action at Beverley, it’s just £6 per adult and £4 for students and senior citizens. If you are after some shelter and seating, however, then you will be looking for a Grandstand ticket which costs £14 for adults or £10 for students and senior citizens.

The only other remaining ticket is for the Premier Enclosure and that will set you back £21. Tickets for Ladies Day meetings cost an extra £1-3 depending on which enclosure you are in and there is a £1 discount when booking in advance online.

Membership

To become an annual badge holder at Beverley you will either pay £180 for single membership or £285 for dual, but unfortunately, there is currently a two year waiting list.

Being a badge holder doesn’t provide you with much more than entry to all meets and reciprocal fixtures but you do get the rather different perk of being able to attend several Yorkshire County Cricket Club matches for free.

Getting There

Being situated on the outskirts of a medium sized town means that there is rarely too much traffic when driving to and from the racecourse. If you wish to use public transport however then there are several bus routes, stretching to the likes of York and Leeds, which pass through Beverley.

Alternatively, you can choose to get the train which will drop you off just over a mile and a half from the course. Direct trains to Beverley depart from several train stations, including large ones such as Sheffield, Hull, and London Kings Cross.

Parking

There is absolutely no shortage of parking at Beverley, with the main parking area a huge field with a few roaming cattle to keep you company! While often boggy after a few days of rain, you can’t argue too much as it is always free of charge.

History

There has been a racing presence in Beverley for over three centuries now and it all began with the founding of the Jockey Club in 1752. With interest growing in the occasional races that took place on the Westwood Pasture, the decision was made to build a racecourse so there was a dedicated venue for horses to compete and in 1767 the first Grandstand was constructed at a cost of around £1,000.

Top Winners

Despite this, racing was never a regular feature at Beverley during this period though, often being stopped for years at a time, but during the 19th century action became more frequent and soon a three-day meeting was held every spring. This meant that local trainer, Richard Watt, had the perfect place to give his horses some racing experience. Although not all of them featured at Beverley, four of them went on to win the St Leger between 1813 and 1833, including the famous Altisidora.

In the years that followed, Beverley was no stranger to some of the top horses around and provided nearby York racecourse with some decent competition. Ebor Handicap winner, Morecambe, made an appearance in 1957 as did the legendary three-time Grand National winner Red Rum, although he only managed a fifth placed finish. Few names were as well loved as Rapid Lad however, who went 12 races unbeaten at Beverley, starting in 1983, despite not winning a single race anywhere else. Talk about horses for courses!

Redevelopment

The past five decades have seen plenty of time and money spent revamping and extending the facilities at Beverley, starting in 1968 with the building of a new stand in the Tattersalls enclosure at a cost of £90,000. Gradually, more and more features were added, including a wide range of bars and restaurants and these have provided Beverley with everything you come to expect from a modern day racecourse.

As with many racecourses, Beverley is run as a not-for-profit operation, meaning that all money is ploughed back into the course and racing generally. This means that improvements are always ongoing, ensuring Beverley maintains its character and charm without ever becoming outdated.