Leicester Racecourse

Published: 03/08/2013
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Located in the small town of Oadby in Leicestershire, England, the oval-shaped Leicester Racecourse is nearly two miles long and used for both jumps and flat racing. Although most of the current fixtures at Leicester Racecourse took sprout in the 20th century, records indicate that the origins of racing in the Oadby area date back to 1773. Today, the venue plays host to 32 horse racing meetings throughout the year.

Dual Purpose Track

To accommodate both National Hunt and flat racing, the venue has evolved into a year-round racing facility. Its right-handed circuit includes a run in of four and half furlongs, and the final three of those can be a real test of a horse’s stamina as the field gradually climbs.

Leicester is probably best known for its chase races. The course offers ten fences, two open ditches and the mandatory water jump. Prior to the 2009~10 National Hunt season, the open ditch that served as the fourth last fence was moved to the home straight. Now, the home straight consists of four fences, with the open ditch taken as the third last fence.

All flat races up to one mile are staged on the straight course. It adjoins onto the fairly stiff but fair one-mile, six-furlong main round track. Ground conditions are usually quite good, as the surface is resilient to excessive rain. The course is especially suited to runners that do well on a sound racing surface.

Leading flat trainers, such as Sir Michael Stoute, often use this course to debut their best two years olds. Trainers James Fanshawe, Mark Johnson and John Dunlop have done particularly well at Leicester over the years, as have jockeys Ray Cochrane, Jamie Spencer and Ted Durcan.

Scheduled Events at Leicester

The racing season kicks off in February with the Valentine’s Day Race. Other big fixtures in the first half of the year include Totepool-sponsored weekend and bank holiday events, such as Family Funday in May and John Smith’s Extra Smooth Big Party Night racing in June. The second half offers Ladies Day in July, Family Day in August, Charity Bonfire & Fireworks Night in November, and both Pre-Christmas and Post-Christmas racecards in December. A number of Pimms and Champagne Music Evenings are scheduled between May and August, too.

Among the more notable flat races here is the £45,000 King Richard III Stakes, a listed event, which is run in April over a distance of seven furlongs and nine yards. Although the event was inaugurated in 1978 and has been known as the Leicestershire Stakes since 1983, the recent name has a fascinating source. It pays tribute to the 4 February 2013 confirmation that bones found under a local car park in the preceding August were indeed those of Richard III

Facilities at Leicester Racecourse range from the Belvoir Grandstand, Club Room, Executive Boxes to the Nelson Restaurant and new Paddock Pavilion. Admission for a full day of racing and evening entertainment typically starts at £25, with party packages for groups of six or more, including food, drink and betting vouchers, priced at £29 to £40 per person.

As one of the key sporting venues of the Midlands, Leicester Racecourse can also meet conferencing, banquet and special event needs. The on-site Conference Centre can accommodate up to 400 guests and there’s parking for 2,000 vehicles. The ground floor of the Grandstand is suitable for exhibitions or trade shows, and two civil wedding licences are held, so the racecourse is available for marriage ceremonies and receptions conducted all in one place.

Published on: 03/08/2013

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