Perth Racecourse

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Published: 08/10/2013

Situated just four miles north of the Scottish town of Perth on the banks of the River Tay, Perth Racecourse has the distinction of being the most northerly racecourse in the United Kingdom. Its right-handed National Hunt track has a circumference of one mile and two furlongs, with a steeplechase course consisting of eight fences, including a water jump in front of the grandstand. Some 21 fixtures are scheduled between April and September with the highlight being April’s three-day Perth Festival and its StanJames.com Festival Chase.

A History Spanning Four Centuries

Racing at Perth is an historical affair. The first race took place on the city park known as the South Inch in 1613 with the running of The Silver Bell. In the next century, Bonnie Prince Charlie took an interest in the sport here, and in 1791 Perth was officially mentioned in the Racing Calendar—a five-day meeting hosting just one race per day at North Inch Park beside the River Tay.

One of the earliest ongoing fixtures at Perth Racecourse was Gold Cup Day and its history now covers almost two full centuries. The inaugural Caledonian Gold Cup was run in 1818, comprising a dozen races over a spa of six days. Although a reference is made in the Chambers’ Journal for 1906 to the great annual Perth Meeting held at the North Inch, none of the racing up to that point took place under Jockey Club Rules.

In 1908, the racecourse moved to Scone Palace Park, near the site where Robert the Bruce and Macbeth were crowned, and it has remained relatively unchanged ever since. Originally, racing was conducted only on two consecutive days in September each year, but the number of racedays gradually increased to thirteen. Famous visitors have included H.M Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, who visited Perth Racecourse in 1970 and again in 1977 during the Queen`s Silver Jubilee celebrations. In 1978, rider Jonjo O’Neill got his 125th win of the season at Perth, setting the world record for the most winners by a National Hunt jockey.

The longest race at Perth is the £25,000 Press & Journal Highland National, covering three miles and seven furlongs over 20 fences. It has become one of many featured races of the Perth Festival. Another big event is the two-day Glorious Finale Meeting in September, Perth’s oldest fixture. And, of course, the £30,000 Perth Gold Cup in June has become one of the most prestigious jumps competitions in the U.K.’s summer calendar.

Racing at Perth Today

There are two enclosures at Perth Racecourse. The Grandstand Enclosure is the more popular of the two, with full access to the to the tiered standing areas, Parade Ring, Winners Presentation area, bars and cafés, private suites and restaurants. Tickets here cost £15 for regular race meetings or £20 on featured racedays. Packages for £32~£37 are available, too, including Grandstand admission, food and dink vouchers, a race programme and a £2 betting voucher. Note that no food or drink is allowed to be taken into the Grandstand Enclosure.

Tickets for the Centre Course Enclosure cost £10 for regular race meetings or £13 on featured racedays. This is the only location in Perth Racecourse where picnicking and BBQs are permitted. Garden Gazebos can be erected, too, although a fee of £10/£13 each is accessed to take into account the additional car parking space required. Children under 18 years of age may enter the racecourse free of charge.

Facilities available o the grounds include a fish and chip shop, fast food at various bars and eateries, and hot and cold silver service meals at the Club Restaurant next to the Parade Ring on the ground floor of the Club Stand. There’s also the stylish Galileo Restaurant on the top floor of the Nelson Stand, where a Dining Package for £65 per person includes Grandstand entry and a three-course meal followed by mid-racing tea, coffee and cake.

Published on: 08/10/2013

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