Ripon Racecourse Guide

Ripon Racecourse
Andrew Abbott /

Ripon Racecourse is often referred to as Yorkshire’s ‘Garden Racecourse’ due to its bright array of flowerbeds and well-maintained lawns. Ripon itself is one of the oldest and smallest cities in the UK and its lovely surrounding make it a wonderful place to visit.

The course is a very much a reflection of the city and you will very rarely find somebody grumbling about their time here. It stages flat racing only and maintains a great atmosphere - one that makes everyone feel welcome.

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The Course

Ripon Racecourse Flat Course Diagram

13 furlongs is the length of the right-handed circuit at Ripon and it’s one that features a long run-in of five furlongs. Five and six furlong races are run in a straight line but there are plenty of undulations on the way to the finishing post. While the course may look flat, this is your eyes deceiving you and this makes Ripon a tougher test than it seems at first.

Being up against the stands side rail can also be an advantage in sprint races and fast horses can usually enjoy a successful time there. In longer races, when conditions are good, horses who prefer to lead from the front have the advantage. The two bends of the oval circuit are both sharp and cramped so having the best spot at the front at the peak around these ensure no energy is wasted.

Major Races

Both of Ripon’s major races feature in August but the first to make an appearance is the Great St. Wilfrid Stakes, named after the patron saint of Ripon. The six furlong handicap is steeped in history, having been introduced in 1843 and today it stands as the racecourse’s most valuable affair.

Later in August is the Listed Ripon Champion Two Year Old Trophy, also contested over a distance of six furlongs. It’s a race which punters often enjoy as it rarely throws up a big surprise; most winners come from the first two in the betting.


The Grandstand at Ripon Racecourse
Ripon 'Yorkshire's Garden Racecourse' Stand (Steve Fareham /

Ripon usually organises 17 meetings between April and the end of September and, in 2016, it introduced a free Friday night fixture which proved to a big a success.

Useful Info

Dress Code

There are no clothing requirements in the Paddock or Course Enclosure (although we would recommend wearing something!). The only thing to be aware of is that no bare chests are allowed and any fancy dress must not be offensive.

In the Club Enclosure, it is requested that men where a collared shirt and smart trousers (includes smart jeans). No t-shirts, sportswear or trainers are allowed. On Ladies’ Day, a prize is awarded to the best dressed lady and you are encouraged to glam up for the occasion.

Ticket Prices

Advanced purchases will give you a £1 reduction on the price of admission but early bookings carry a £2 booking fee for the whole transaction. Pre-booked Club Enclosure tickets are £22 on standard racedays and £25 on Saturday meetings and pre-booked Paddock Enclosure entry costs £14 and £16, respectively.

Admission to the Course Enclosure costs £6 regardless of the raceday when bought in advance. Other tickets are the same price in advance and on the day. These include concessionary tickets for students and over 60s who get Paddock Enclosure entry for £12 or £10 depending on the raceday. It also applies to the Cars on Course ticket, fixed at £20, which provides entry for four adults travelling in the same vehicle.


Under 25s benefit from a reduced annual badge price of £115, those older than this must pay £190. Both are great value though if you intend to visit Ripon regularly. Badge holders receive car parking right next to the course entrance, access to an exclusive bar with viewing balcony, a free racecard at each meeting and a long list of free visits to other racecourses and Yorkshire County Cricket matches.

Getting There

With no nearby train station, driving to the racecourse is the most convenient way of getting there. You aren’t stuck if you can’t drive, however, as there are bus services that run to Ripon from the likes of Leeds and Harrogate (36) and York (142 & 143).

From Ripon bus station, a free shuttle bus service will take you the two miles to the racecourse. Times of collection and drop off are posted online and are subject to change.


The main car park is free of charge and is suitable for anyone attending any of the enclosures. Anybody with a Cars on Course ticket should head towards to the centre of the course for their parking spot.


A panorama of Ripon Racecourse
The joy of all things /

Ripon has a very long history of racing dating back to 1664 where contests between horses took place on Bondgate Green. Racing was never fixed to one location, however, moving to Monckton Moor in 1675 and then to High Common in 1713. It was in the Common where spectators would witness the first ever race exclusively for female jockeys. Nine lady riders in total took part in what was a very historic moment for UK racing.

Change of Locations

The Commons were forced to cancel race meetings between 1826 and 1837 after becoming enclosed. Racing would resume on a course by the River Ure before once again moving location in 1865, this time to Whitcliffe Lane. The final switch came in 1900 when the racecourse moved to its current location of Boroughbridge Road, holding its first meeting there on August 6th.


Little is documented about the happenings of the course during the 20th century but it has received a number of high-profile accolades since the turn of the millennium. In 2003, 2014 and 2016, it was voted the Best Small Racecourse in the North. Another proud moment came in 2017 when Ripon was announced as one of the best racecourses in the country, along with 10 others, by the Racecourse Association.

As with many of the smaller courses around the UK, Ripon can’t compete with the biggest tracks when it comes to top class racing. However, for value, a friendly atmosphere and for those who like to avoid the crowds, it’s a great choice.