Saturday, 28 January 2012

Go Racing at Wolverhampton Racecourse

Wolverhampton racecourse, situated on the outskirts of the city at Dunstall Park, is an ideal venue for an afternoon or evening's all-weather horse racing.

Wolverhampton's Dunstall Park

Situated in the heart of England, Wolverhampton is now the busiest racecourse in the UK, currently staging approximately 90 race meetings every year. 

Bounded on one side by the Stafford and Worcester canal and on another by the main line railway from Shrewsbury, along with the Birmingham Canal, it may seem that Dunstall Park has little to recommend it, but nothing could be further from the truth.

The area boasts excellent transport links, being quite close to the M6 and M54 motorways. Located north of the city centre, the course is to be found just off the A449 dual carriageway, where there are numerous brown road signs giving final directions to the track.

As well as a racing venue, the site also houses a conference & exhibition centre, a panoramic restaurant and a hotel.

Racecourse History

There is a history of horse racing taking place at locations in Wolverhampton, going back as far as 1887. Dunstall Park racecourse was traditionally a mixed racing venue, providing both flat and National Hunt cards on turf, but this all changed in 1993 when the course underwent a complete redevelopment and was transformed into the first all-weather, floodlit track in Great Britain. The turf course remained in place however, but was only used sparingly with just a few jumping meetings each year.

Initially, a Fibresand track similar to that at Southwell racecourse was installed, but in 2004, this was replaced by a Polytrack surface, along with refurbishments to some of the other facilities. Since that time, the course has only staged all-weather, flat racing.

Racing Information

The course is left handed (anti-clockwise), oval shaped, approximately one mile in overall length with chutes for 6 and 7 furlong starts. It is the most similar in proportion of any of the British courses to tracks found in the United States. Nimble, handy types of horse seem to go well here and it is generally considered that there is no draw bias at Dunstall Park.

Leading UK trainers such as Sir Mark Prescott, Mark Johnston and Barry Hills often have runners here and are worth following. Top jockeys on the course are all-weather specialist Neil Callan and Jamie Spencer. It is also worth keeping an eye on Frankie Dettori whenever he visits the course as he has an impressive winner-to-runner strike ratio.

Wolverhampton Racecourse Trivia

Not only does it hold the distinction of being the first floodlit racecourse (now joined by Kempton Park), but Wolverhampton was also the first course in England to stage a Saturday evening meeting, back in 1962.

Sir Gordon Richards, often thought of as the world greatest jockey, originated from the local region and in his heyday, rarely used to miss a meeting at the track. In the period from the end of end of World War II, until his retirement in 1954, he was the leading rider at the course.

In reality, Wolverhampton Racecourse will never provide top quality, pattern racing, but if you are looking for an excellent afternoon or evenings sport, in comfortable surroundings with superb facilities, then Dunstall Park is very hard to beat.

Course Contact Details

Wolverhampton Racecourse, Dunstall Park, Wolverhampton WV6 0PE
Telephone 01902-421421

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