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Home of the Grand National and as such known the world over, the Merseyside venue presents an honest test these days since the fences were modified on the National course.

The circuit is triangular in shape and has a circumference of two miles and two furlongs.
There cannot be a more adrenalin pumping sight than watching the leaders in the most famous race in the world landing over the final fence to negotiate the 494 yards run-in complete with elbow.

The more conventional Mildmay course is rectangular in shape, stretching to 12 furlongs. The bends are sharp, favouring the handy, nippy sort rather than the big striding individual. The run-in is measured at 260 yards.

From a betting point of view, due to the proximity of the National meeting to the Cheltenham Festival, horses aimed at both meetings very often flop at Aintree, a combination of lack of recovery time and totally different conditions contributing to some famous failures.

Watch out for runners from big stables who sidestep Cheltenham and who line up fresher than most.


Draw Advantage: No significant advantage.

Flat: A right-handed triangular shaped circuit of just over one mile and six furlongs, with a run-in of two and a half furlongs. Races up to and including seven furlongs take place on the straight course.

A stiff, galloping course, undulating in nature and with sweeping, easy bends. In large fields on the straight course the draw seems to favour those housed near either rail.

National Hunt: Same conformation as the flat, with the stiff uphill finish, allied to some quite demanding fences ensuring that form normally works out well, with top rated animals proving hard to beat.


Scotland's premier track situated on the west coast is equally at home to Flat and jump racing. The Scottish Grand National in April and the Ayr Gold Cup in September are its biggest meetings and attract bumper crowds. A left-handed circuit, it is about a mile and a half round with a straight six furlongs and was opened in 1907.

Bangor On Dee

Bangor-on-Dee is located near Wrexham and is best known for being the only racecourse in Britain that does not have a Grandstand. Spectators have a head-on view of the all-jumps action head from the banks.


At 780 feet (238 metres) above sea level, Bath is Britain's highest flat racecourse and is a left-handed oval track of one mile four furlongs and 25 yards, it has a home straight of nearly half-a-mile.


Draw Advantage: Low numbers are nearer the rail, although on soft ground runners in sprints may have an advantage from high draws.

An oval right-handed course of a mile and three furlongs, with a stiff uphill finish of two and a half furlongs. The five-furlong course has a slight bend at half-way which puts the ball very much in the court of those drawn high. Due to the short run-in it is not wise to try and come from off the pace.


Brighton is a right-handed oval track of one mile three furlongs. The five furlongs course is uphill and is a very stiff test, especially for 2yo. High numbers best in races up to one mile.


Racing is provided every month of the year with the National Hunt from October to April and Flat meetings between May and August. Each year in June, the track features the Cumberland Plate and Carlisle Bell carrying on a tradition which dates back to the 17th century.


Housed in the Lake District this picturesque course offers a fun 'shirt-sleeve atmosphere'. Jump racing is held between May and August on a track that has a run-in of almost four furlongs and is close to Grange-over-Sands.


This dual purpose track in North Yorkshire is situated about a mile and a quarter round and it is quite undulating. The course has a full calendar with fixtures from January 1st right through to the end of December.

A left-handed oval track of 1m 2f, eight fences per circuit and a run-in of about 280 yards. Races over 2m and 3m 330 yards start on a chute, a fence being jumped on the 2m course before joining the main course


Jumps racing over two courses, the Old and the New. There are now two fences in the home straight. After the 2010 Festival, the penultimate fence was moved 239 yards from the bottom of the hill, round the bend on to the finish straight, as previously the fence came at the bottom of a short downhill gradient.

Home of jumps racing in England, and the venue for one of the greatest racing festivals in the world, with it's four-day meeting in March including the Champion Hurdle, the Queen Mother Champion Chase and the Cheltenham Gold Cup. But it's more than just the racing that makes the Irish travel over in their thousands.

The Guinness Village is well worth a visit! Racing tends to very competitive and the top jockeys and trainers always save their best for this course.


The Chepstow track is quite undulating. There is a straight mile on the Flat and the jumps course is nearly two miles round. The main event by far is the Welsh National at Christmas.



Draw Advantage: A low draw and a fast start give a distinct advantage in sprints.

An extremely sharp, left-handed circuit just a mile in circumference. Stages Flat racing only. A low draw and early speed from the gate is essential over all distances up to a mile. It is very difficult for runners to win that do not keep close to the rail throughout. With the horses galloping almost constantly on the turn, this is very much a course for specialists and the form cannot be relied upon elsewhere.

Cork (IRE)

There is year-round racing under both codes and the course is a round right-handed and level with a 10-furlong inner circuit and a 12-furlong outer circuit.

Curragh (IRE)

The five Irish Classics, highlighted by Irish Derby weekend at the end of June, all take place on this sacred turf as are so many of Ireland's major races. The track is horseshoe-shaped with a circuit of two miles, a run in of three furlongs and an uphill finish. The first official racing took place in 1741.


Left-hand almost perfectly flat track with a run-in of just over 4f. High numbers best on the straight course. Left-hand pear shaped track almost perfectly flat with a run-in of just over 240yds. Eleven very easy fences and seven hurdles per circuit.

Down Royal

Down Royal is a right-handed, undulating course of one mile and seven furlongs in length with an uphill finish.


A tight, undulating track of one and a quarter miles.

Epson Downs

Draw Advantage: High numbers best over 5f and 6f, low numbers best from 7f to 1m 2f.

A left-handed circuit which is very undulating. From the Derby start at the top of the Downs the course climbs for half a mile then starts to decend sharply on the way to Tattenham Corner and into the straight. The run-in is just short of half a mile. The sprint track adjoins the round course at the entrance to the home straight, is downhill and is the fastest in the world.


It is an undulating right-handed track of about two miles. The Haldon Gold Cup in early November is the top race at a course which until the early 1990s was officially known as Devon and Exeter.

Fairyhouse (IRE)

The Irish Grand National takes pride of place during a four-day Easter meeting with other quality races including the Powers Gold Cup. The course itself is right-handed, relatively flat and is 1m 6f in length.


The track itself is almost square, it is a left-handed circuit of about a mile. Left-handed square course of 1m with a run-in of 200yds. Undulating track with six very easy fences and four hurdles per circuit, but not suitable for the long-striding type.

Ffos Las

First race course in Wales since 1937, opened in June 2009. Hosts both National Hunt and Flat fixtures.


Folkestone, founded in 1898, is the only racecourse in Kent and hosts racing under both codes, with meetings every month of the year.


It features a figure-of-eight chase course and an oval hurdles course. It was where the Queen Mother had her first winner as an owner with Monaveen in October 1949.


Draw Advantage: Low numbers best in sprints, though a fast start is equally important.

A right-handed track with severe undulations. Racing on the Flat only, and this course is totally unsuited to the big, long-striding horse. Small, handy types who can maintain their balance downhill have the advantage here. The course often suits front runners, and the five furlong straight course is one of the fastest in the country so speed from the gate is essential.


It is a stamina-sapping track and shaped like a tennis racket. Racing has been staged in Hamilton since 1782 but only on the present course since 1926.


Haydocks track is a mostly flat left-handed oval of around one mile and five furlongs. Highlight of Haydock's Flat season is the Group One Betfred Sprint Cup.


Hereford stages an average of 16 jumps meetings a year. The course is almost square in shape with a circuit of about a mile-and-a-half.


This Northumberland jumps course opened in 1926 and is oblong in shape being approximately one and a half miles round. It hosts jumps racing throughout the calendar year.


Huntingdon Racecourse Logo

It is a flat right-handed oval circuit of a mile and a half and its flagship race is the Peterborough Chase.


The Morebattle Hurdle in January and the Borders National in March are the top two races at a track that is left-handed and is famed for its long, uphill three furlong run-in.


Right-handed Polytrack. Made up of two tracks, 1m and 1m 2f both tracks are oval in nature. There is no advantage in the draw. Right-hand triangular course of 1m 5f in extent with a run-in of 175yds. There are ten fences and six hurdles per circuit, a fair test for a jumper.


Oval shaped and right-handed it is nearly two miles in extent with a steady climb to the line in the straight. It stages racing all the year round with the main event being the Group Three Leicestershire Stakes over seven furlongs

Leopardstown (IRE)

Leopardstown hosts over 22 meetings a year and is a left-handed oval of one mile and six furlongs with an uphill finish.


With Flat racing on turf and the all-weather plus over jumps, the left-handed circuit is 1m 2f round with a 2f run-in. The draw is of little advantage but a fast start is essential. Undulating left-handed turf course, 1m 4f round with 9 fences to a circuit and a 200yd run-in.


It is right-handed, undulating and about a mile and a half round.

Market Rasen

The course is a right-handed oval of around one-and-a-quarter miles. Market Rasen stages a year-round program of jump racing but has made its name as a summer venue with its most high-profile fixture being the Summer Plate meeting in July.


Musselburgh Racecourse hosts a total of 27 fixtures a year for Flat and Jump racing. The Flat and Jumps tracks are about a mile and a quarter round and quite sharp.


The top prizes include the Hennessy Gold Cup and the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes. It is a left-handed track of about one mile seven furlongs with a straight mile.


Draw Advantage: Low numbers best on the straight course in soft or heavy ground.

A dual purpose Flat and National Hunt track which is a left handed oval track of a mile and six furlongs and has a steady uphill climb to the finish. It can get very testing on occasion and the emphasis is very much on stamina. The track is galloping in nature and the fences can pose problems.

The standard of racing is usually at a good level with the feature races being the valuable Northumberland Plate along with the Gosforth Park Sprint both run at the same meeting in June. Over the sticks, top trainers send their best hurdlers for the Fighting Fifth run in November.


Home of the 2000 and 1000 Guineas. Both courses are galloping with ultra-long straights.

Newton Abbot

The course is sharp in nature, left-handed and about 10 furlongs.


The course itself is a level, mile and a half round with easy turns and two straight tracks used at different parts of the flat season after the jumps course was closed.


Front runners have a good record as the track is virtually flat and the tight bends play to their strengths. Fixtures take place between April and September with the highlight being the Perth Festival in late April.


One of the smaller tracks it is rather hilly and has a tightish left-handed circuit of just over a mile with an uphill finish.


Being a stiff, undulating two-mile track, the emphasis is on stamina in the staying races but front runners are ideally suited in sprints where a low draw is important.

Punchestown (IRE)

The course is right-handed and undulating with flat, hurdle, steeplechase and bank courses. The hurdle course is 1m 6f and the chase course is 2m.


Yorkshire's seaside track, it is oval-shaped and perfectly flat with a circuit of a mile and three-quarters. The Zetland Gold Cup in May and the valuable Two-Year-Old Trophy in October are the main features in a long season..


Set in the Yorkshire Dales, Ripon is an undulating course of a mile and five furlongs with a long five-furlong straight. Highlight of their year is the big sprint, the Great St Wilfrid Handicap, run in August.


Highlights of the season are the Upavon Fillies Stakes and the Sovereign Stakes among about 16 Flat meetings held from May to October.


The jumps course in particular can be quite testing while there is a separate five-furlong chute which provides exciting sprint finishes. The Coral Eclipse Stakes is the main summer event on the flat.


A tight track with fairly sharp bends, this is not a course that suits the long-striding galloper but when the ground is rain-softened, the steep, uphill finish comes into play.


In 1989 this Nottinghamshire venue took the brave step of undergoing a major development with the construction of a Fibresand all-weather track.


The 10-furlong circuit favours horses who race prominently.


The 10-furlong jumps track plays to the strengths of handy types.


The circuit is a little more than a mile round. The Thirsk Hunt Cup in May is the main race of the year.


National Hunt only. Right-handed, rectangular track of approximately one and three-quarter miles in circumference, with a run-in from the last obstacle of 200 yards. The final six furlongs are steeply uphill, so Towcester is regarded as one of the stiffest courses in the country where stamina is at a premium, especially as the ground can get very testing in wet weather.


The course has a circumference of around 10 furlongs and is a left-handed oval with an unusual right-handed kink in the middle of the back straight.




A mile and a half round, it is a fair, galloping track which suits front-runners.


Is the only figure-of-eight Flat course in the country and the sharp bends mean that the focus is on speed rather than stamina.


The course has a Polytrack surface, and is a mile in circumference, with left-hand turns, favouring handy types.


Most of the fixtures take place in the summer at the course which has an oval circuit of about 13 furlongs.


Being a flat, galloping track, long-striding horses are particularly well-suited to the test this 13-furlong course offers.


Flat only. Left-handed, galloping, track. Two miles in extent, run-in of five furlongs, with chutes for six furlong and seven furlong starts. Considered a very fair test and often seems to suit horses who like to run prominently all the way.

One of the world's premier tracks, with the annual highlight being the four-day Ebor Festival. The Juddmonte International Stakes is ranked in the top ten races in the world and consequelty attracts the the best middle-distance horses. Recent renewals have seen the likes of Duke Of Marmalade, New Approach and Authorized run. The Darley Yorkshire Oaks and the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes are Group One contests staged at this meeting attracting the best fillies and sprinters in training.

The Totesport Ebor Handicap is one of the best handicaps of the season and attracts huge betting turnover.

York also stages an important meeting in May, featuring key trials for the Derby and the Oaks.