Haydock Park Racecourse Guide

Haydock Park Racecourse
Haydock Park Racecourse (A Whitmore / geograph.org.uk)

Halfway between the two big cities of Manchester and Liverpool, you will find Haydock Park Racecourse. With 32 meetings held each year, there are few courses in the country that are so packed full of racing action throughout the calendar.

Despite being in the middle of two places brimming with industry, Haydock Park is quaintly located, surrounded by woodland and small towns and villages. Inside the course, things are far more bursting with life and exciting as it’s a very well attended course which focuses on being an entertaining venue.

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The Course

While the oval course at Haydock Park does contain two rather tight bends, the pair of long straights means that it’s not an overly difficult test. This makes it a good galloping track and one that suits horses with speed when the going is good. When the ground is softer, races can turn into tactical battles amongst jockeys who regularly plan a move to the stand side rail where things are less muddy.

Haydock hosts both flat and jumps races and the latter meetings have become rather less challenging since a recent reconfiguration. It used to have a reputation of being a tricky course to navigate but the new and less stiff portable fences means that it no longer poses too much of a jumping challenge. In the winter, it’s far more a test of stamina during the longer distance races as the conditions often become incredibly demanding.

For flat races, Haydock has a separate straight track for sprint events which is up a slight rise all the way to the line. Longer races will see horses take on at least one of the sharp left handed corners and positioning coming into the final one is key. It’s a track very much affected by the conditions. When the going is good, quick, prominent runners tend to thrive and can pull away from the pack. However, in the far from uncommon softer conditions, more patience is required.

Major Races

While some dual purposes courses favour one type of racing over the other, it’s fair to say that Haydock is quite evenly split when it comes to quality flat and jump events. Its biggest race strictly for fillies and mares is the Lancashire Oaks, which was promoted to Group 2 standard in 2004. Other notable flat races include the Temple Stakes, which often sees future King’s Stand Stakes runners and September’s Grade 1 Haydock Sprint Cup, which has a purse exceeding a quarter of a million pounds.

As well as this, Haydock Park hosts a number of Class 1 hurdle and chase events throughout the jumping season. One of its biggest chase events is the gruelling Grand National Trial which runs a few weeks before the Grand National itself. Its three and a half mile length and 22 fences make it a very useful practice run for the big race at Aintree. As for the hurdles, the Grade 2 National Hurdle Trial is the pick of the bunch as it serves as the third leg in the Road to Cheltenham.

Haydock’s prized jump event however is their sole Grade 1 affair, the Betfair Chase. The three mile race has seen some absolutely top names go head to head since its introduction in 2005. Winners include the likes of Kauto Star, Silviniaco Conti and Cue Card, who have all managed to secure victory on more than one occasion. It now forms part of the National Hunt “Triple Crown”, alongside the King George VI Stakes and the Cheltenham Gold Cup.


Haydock Park Pavilion
Haydock Park Pavilion (Anthony Parkes / geograph.org.uk)

With regular meetings all year round at Haydock Park, finding a convenient time to visit is rarely too much of a problem.

Useful Info

Dress Code

In both the Tattersalls and Newton Enclosure, there is no dress code and fancy dress is permitted providing it does not cause offence. In the County Enclosure, the hospitality boxes and Kauto Star Restaurant, reasonably smart clothing is required.

For the gents, this means a buttoned shirt and smart trousers although jeans are okay if not faded or ripped. Lastly, for the Premier Suite, Park Suite and Harry’s Bistro, men must have a jacket, tie and smart trousers while it’s the best day wear for the ladies.

Ticket Prices

Note that all prices listed are for online advance tickets:

Tickets in the Newton Enclosure are the cheapest at Haydock Park, usually available at £13.50 but the enclosure is not always open. Tattersall Enclosure (or Grandstand & Paddock) tickets are always available however and these tend to range from £20-30.

A place in the County Enclosure will set you back £25-40 although on a few selected meets, a general admission ticket, costing £16 will give you access there. Finally, there is the Premier Lounge entrance with admission here costing between £36 and £54.

On the day, prices are usually about 10% higher than those listed above except for students and senior citizens who receive a substantial discount on Newton/Tattershall/general admission tickets.


Annual badge membership at Haydock Park has been frozen at £350 but is due to increase for anyone looking to buy in 2017 onwards. Those aged 18-24 are eligible for a cheaper junior membership but are required to phone 0344 579 3006 for further details.

As well as 43 reciprocal features, reserved facilities and restaurant discounts, badge holders can also take part in a tipping competition in which the winner will get a free Annual Badge for the following year.

Getting There

With Haydock Park situated between Manchester and Liverpool, along the M6, it’s an easy drive from either city. Both these cities have train services that run to Newton-le-Willows, which is around three miles from the course. For many of the bigger meets, a complimentary shuttle bus will take you from here to Haydock Park.

As for buses, the 520 Peoplesbus service runs on every Saturday meeting to and from Liverpool city centre and costs £5.90 for a single, £10 for a return. Also, there are Arriva buses (620 & 320) that head to the racecourse from the likes of St Helens and Wigan.


There are three reserved car parks and an additional one with open use, all of which of are free of charge.


Horse 'Be Friendly'
Statue of Horse 'Be Friendly' at Haydock Park (Alexander P Kapp / geograph.org.uk)

Organised racing didn’t take place at Haydock until 1899 when it became the successor to nearby Newton-le-Willows, based two and a half miles away. Meetings at Newton ran on a stretch of common called Golborne Heath and had been going on since 1752. They were a regular feature in the area barring a brief break in the 1820s.

The Royal Family were known to visit the racing at Newton-le-Willows and while it was a venue mainly supported by the hunting folk, it was open to all to enjoy the action. Growing industry in the nearby areas created a good demand for racing and this was recognised by Lord Newton who leased 127 acres of parkland so Haydock Park could be built in 1898.

First Meet

It took just a year for work at Haydock to finish and in 1899, the first meet was underway. One of the races that survived from Newton-le-Willows was the Old Newton Cup, a one and a half mile furlong affair which is still contested today. To cope with the large numbers of racegoers, Haydock Park Railway Station was opened for the sole purposes of handling race time traffic. A changing economy however meant that in 1963, the station was forced to close.

Closure of the Manchester Racecourse

It wasn’t all bad news for Haydock Park in 1963 though as this was the year that saw the closure of Manchester Racecourse. Not only were they able to attract racegoers who used to go to the now defunct racecourse but two years later, in 1965, they became the new host of the Lancashire Oaks. Since then, Haydock Park has gone from strength to strength, adding more and more meetings and continuing to modernise its facilities.