Ludlow Racecourse

Published: 03/08/2013

Promoted as “One of Britain’s Friendliest Racecourses,” Ludlow Racecourse is located close to the Welsh border, just off the A49 near the market town of Ludlow, Shropshire, and between the small villages of Bromfield and Stanton Lacy. The right-handed course hosts National Hunt races throughout the jumping season from October through May, with a total of 16 fixtures a year. Racing quality ranges from fair to useful and racedays are attended by a strong, local presence.

A Decidedly Unique Track

According to local legend, in the 14th century the soldiers stationed at Ludlow Castle used to come to the current site of Ludlow Racecourse to match their horses. Written records of racing here date back to 1729, and throughout all the years since, the course has managed to retain an Edwardian character as well as distinguished club atmosphere.

The original flat course has long since given way to jumping, although the current track used for National Hunt meetings still incorporates a mile of the 18th century route. The infield area within the racing tracks is entirely occupied by the Ludlow Golf Club, one of Shropshire’s oldest golfing facilities, established in 1889. After the racecourse survived World War One, the golf links were extensively remodelled by Scottish professional golfer James Braid in 1922. Today, the 70-par 18-hole course is 6,277 yards long.

Another rather peculiar aspect of the racecourse is that a road interrupts it on three separate occasions. The B4365 crosses the track at a trio of points and traffic must be diverted when the course is in use. To make transportation easy for racegoers, a free bus service is available for train passengers from Ludlow Train Station, meeting trains arriving from Shrewsbury and Hereford, and returning from the racecourse after the last race of the day.

Among the noteworthy races conducted on the Ludlow jumps track is the Forbra Gold Challenge Cup, a handicap chase held in March. Another is the Attwood Memorial Trophy Handicap Chase held in February. A number of jockeys have done quite well here in recent years, especially A.P. McCoy and Richard Johnson, while trainers with a good run of success include Evan Williams and Nicky Henderson.

Racing at Ludlow Today

Despite the long history of racing at Ludlow, the racecourse features more than a few relatively new facilities, such as the Jubilee Stand completed in 2002, which flanks the Members Stand, and the Plymouth Stand renovated in 2010, which is nest to the Clive Pavilion. An internal life provides access to the Jubilee Stand Restaurant above the Grandstand & Paddock Stand, where balcony viewing of the whole racecourse and surrounding countryside is available.

Other dining facilities on the grounds include the Plymouth Stand’s second-floor Carvery Restaurant, open to all people in the Members Enclosure, and the Clive Pavilion Restaurant, providing all the catering for Day Members. Also in the Clive Pavilion is the Owners & Trainers Bar, restricted to Owners & Trainers and official badge holders only. Elsewhere on site, the Grandstand & Paddock provides a full Bar and Snack Bar, serving hot and cold food and all day breakfast, while the Course Enclosure offers all day drinks, chips, burgers, hot dogs, jacket potatoes and snacks.

Purchase of a Members Day Badge for £21 gives admission to the Members Enclosure and all other areas of the Racecourse except the Annual Members Bar. The most inexpensive entry is with the £10 Course Ticket, allowing access to the Course Enclosure only, excluding the Parade Ring and Winners Enclosure area. Children under 18 accompanied by an adult are admitted free of charge. Note, also, that a dress code is enforced—no vests, football or rugby shirts, ripped jeans, shorts or removal of shirts—and dogs are not permitted in any of the Racecourse enclosures or grounds.

Published on: 03/08/2013

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