Nottingham Racecourse Guide

The Course at Nottingham
The Course at Nottingham (Alan Murray-Rust / geograph.org.uk)

Three kilometres east of Nottingham city centre you will find Nottingham Racecourse, based in Colwick Park. The River Trent passes very close by and there is also a greyhound track at the same site.

The course was home of a very memorable event in April 2013, a triple dead-heat. There was absolutely nothing to separate Thorpe Bay, Majestic Manannan and My Time who were all awarded fourth place in the Lodge Farm Stud Chris And May Mullin Handicap.

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The Course

There are two tracks that run side by side at Nottingham but there is little difference between them. It’s the two tight left-handed bends at either end of the course that really set the tone for races here. Contests are often run at a steady pace as a result and overtaking is largely limited to the long home straight. Only do runners in five and six furlong races avoid the bends, instead running on the straight course which features minor undulations.

Plenty of work has been put in to realigning the top turn to make it less challenging for jockeys. The bottom still remains quite a test though and if you get it wrong here then it can be a hard battle to the winning post. That said, there is plenty of time to make up the distance and often horses who set off too soon get picked off before they make it home.

Major Races

The Further Flight Stakes, run in April, is one of Nottingham’s highest quality races. The race was originally named after St Leger winner, Micheolozzo but in 1999 it was changed to honour Further Flight who won this race in both 1996 and 1998. It has held Listed status since 2003 and has been won by some very useful types in the past.

Also of Listed status is the Kilvington Fillies’ Stakes and Nottinghamsire Oaks. Both are restricted to fillies and mares but the former is a sprint test of six furlongs that runs in May while the latter, formerly contested at Warwick, is one mile and two furlongs long and takes place each year in June.

Visiting

Nottingham Racecourse
Nottingham Racecourse (Graham Hogg / geograph.org.uk)

Nottingham sticks to the usual flat season, with all its fixtures falling between April and early November.

Useful Info

Dress Code

In the Grandstand Enclosure, no formal rules apply although a reasonable level of dress is expected. In the Premier Enclosure, Hospitality Boxes and Rooftop Restaurant, a smart casual policy is enforced and anybody wearing shorts (non-tailored), t-shirts, trainers or fancy dress will be denied entry.

Ticket Prices

For the vast majority of meetings there is a general admission ticket which costs £13.50 in advance or £15 on the day. Prices only increase on Ladies Day and Ladies Night and for these you will have to select which enclosure you want to be in. Advanced Grandstand Enclosure tickets cost £16.20 and £18 on the day while Premier Enclosure entry costs £28.

Booking early for the Premium Enclosure, while not cheaper, is recommended as tickets do sell out. Online orders carry an order fee of £2. Under 18s are admitted free, students receive £2 off on the day for Grandstand tickets and senior citizens who join the Diamond Club are entitled to 25% off entry.

Membership

Nottingham currently has no option to sign up as a member but you can register for the Rewards4Racing scheme that gives you points when you buy tickets at Nottingham or any other Jockey Club Racecourse.

Getting There

If passing through the centre of Nottingham on your way to the course, it’s wise to set off in plenty of time as there can be a fair bit of traffic. If going by bus, the 44 service, which departs from King Street, or the Ecolink (yellow Park & Ride), which stops at Parliament Street and Collins Street at the best options. Train users are best getting off at Nottingham Station and from there catching a bus, taxi, or walking the two miles to the racecourse.

Parking

Ample on-site parking is available free of charge.

History

ALT
Jockey, AP McCoy (Pbaser / Wikipedia.org)

You can date racing in Nottingham back to 1773 where it took place in an area called ‘Nottingham Forest’. The exact site is unknown but by the end of the 19th century, racing was formally moved to its present site in Colwick Park. For a time there was some uncertainty surrounding the future of the racecourse but any fears were put to bed in 1965 when it was purchased by Nottingham City Council.

Throughout this time and until 1996, Nottingham was a dual purpose course with a notable history of jump racing. One big milestone came in 1971 when Stan Mellor notched up his 1000th win, the first National Hunt jockey to reach such a milestone. Another top jockey, AP McCoy, would also later win here on the Boiler White during a three mile, three furlong Handicap Chase. Nottingham’s final ever jumps race, a handicap hurdle, was won by then apprentice jockey, Timmy Murphy, who would go on to claim victory in the Grand National 12 years later.

Top Class Facilities

By moving to a flat only venue, the ground at Nottingham has been improved as they are able to alternate between two tracks during the flat season. The excellent facilities on offer tempt many top trainers to try out some of their most promising names. Such is the quality of the facilities that Nottingham was awarded the Gold Standard by the Racehourse Owners Association in 2014.

With more and more trainers wanting to come to here, the profile and fixture list of the course has grown, reaching a record 23 race days in 2015. We see Nottingham going from strength to strength and it is certainly a top class venue, well worth a visit.