Ayr is a Scottish horse racing venue located at Whitletts Road, Ayrshire, Scotland.
The first official meeting of the Ayr racecourse was held in the year 1771, however horse racing in Ayr goes as far back as the late sixteenth century..
Racing in Ayrshire could not have lasted through the years of its early growth without the sponsorship, patronage and protection of the members of the Caledonian Hunt such as the Earl of Eglinton, Sir James Boswell of Auchinleck and R.A. Oswald of Auchincruive. They did much for the sport by breeding excellent horses and introducing trainers with the most up to date ideas for the racecourse.
In 1907, Ayr Racecourse was moved from to its current site in Seafield and this is because the former pitch was quite small. However, the old racecourse known as “the Old Racecourse” is now used for field events like the “Seafield golf course”.
Below are some key facts about the Ayr Racecourse:
Founded: Current Location Founded in 1907
Course Type: Flat and National Hunt
Current Owner: The Western Meeting Club
As mentioned earlier, the Ayr Racecourse organizes both Flat and National Hunt Races.
Flat races on this racecourse are ran over distances between 1 and 2 miles. The track for the flat races is fairly easy as it has little in the way of undulations and well graded turns.
However, the National Hunt race cover distances ranging from 2 miles to around 4 miles 110 yards (especially in the Scottish national race). This course is a left-handed course with “a half mile circuit with nine fences”.
The most memorable races held in the Ayr are the Scottish Grand National and the William Hill (Ayr) Gold Cup Festival.
The Scottish Grand National: A Grade 3 National Hunt steeplechase and is essentially the Scottish equivalent of the Grand National ran at Aintree. It takes place each year in April and is part of Ayr’s two-day Scottish Grand National Festival.
The Ayr Gold Cup: The Ayr Golf Cup, established in 1809 is a flat handicap flat race ran each year in September. It might be over in just 6 furlongs but it is one of the most anticipated races of the year. 27 is the most runners allowed in the Gold Cup. However, in 1992 the Silver Cup was introduced to as a consolation race for those that didn’t make the Golf Cup cut.
Others important racing events at Ayr include:
• Scottish Champion Hurdle.
• Future Champion Novices’ chase.
• Rothesay Stakes
• Doonside Cup.
• Firth of Clyde Stakes.
One exciting race was discontinued. In 2005, The Scottish Derby had it’s last run. It was replaced the following year by a similar race, the York Stakes at York. An interesting fact about The Scottish Derby is that no horse won the race more than once.
Just like most racecourses, dress smart. Dressing up for the Ayr racecourse depends on whether you are simply attending a mundane midweek fixture, or if it is some glamorous festival. As with all festivals, it’s a case of wearing formal wear and ladies often try to outdo each other to win one of the coveted best-dressed prizes.
Ayr held the Best Racecourse position in Scotland and the North East for a record breaking nineteen times. Other awards it held includes the “Neil Wyatt Ground Staff award: Best Dual-Purpose Course” twice in a row between 1996 and 2011, it was also nominated by the Racecourse Association for the categories of “the food and beverage and Owner’s Experience categories”, it won the latter.
Address and Contact Details
2-6 Whitletts, Ayr, Ayrshire, KA8 0JE, Scotland