Horse racing first took place at Victoria Park in Leicester in 1773. However, it was relocated to its current home at Oadby 110 years later where it currently sits amidst 200 acres of glorious countryside. In the late nineteenth century, the course staged some of the most prestigious races in England, including the Portland Stakes that offered bigger prize money than any of the five English Classics at that time in history.
Leicester Racecourse no longer has those kinds of bragging rights, but it still stages over 30 race meetings each year, with around two-thirds of those held on the flat and about one-third over jumps. The course is still very popular with a lot of high-profile flat stables based in Yorkshire and Newmarket, with trainers seeing it as an excellent venue for young horses to make their racecourse debuts at.
As well as being a popular venue for horse racing, Leicester Racecourse is also a popular destination for events, exhibitions, meetings, and weddings. This is down to its popular event space, “The Kube”.
Below are some key facts about Leicester Racecourse.
Course Type: Flat and Jumps
Current Owner: Leicester Racecourse Company Limited
Flat races between five furlongs and seven furlongs are run on the straight track, whilst the round track measures 14 furlongs and has a run-in measuring four and a half furlongs. The straight course is mainly downhill until about the three-furlong post where it levels off before the final two furlongs climb all the way to the line. This means it can be a real test of stamina, especially on soft ground, and even more so for two-year-olds. Therefore, it especially suits galloping types that are bred to get further as there careers progress.
The jumps tracks are oval-shaped and best described as undulating, though the three-furlong run-in is very much uphill. Stiff fences and the nature of the track means that races are often steadily run in the early stages, meaning fields are often bunched for much of the race. However, that all usually changes in the home straight, especially if the climb to the line takes place in tough conditions.
The highlight of Leicester Racecourse’s flat season is the King Richard III Stakes. It is a Listed Race run over seven furlongs and it is usually held in April. It was first run in 1978 and has been won by horses like Roland Garden, Sugarfoot, Tout Seul, and New Seeker. Meanwhile, horses that have won the race more than once include Young Ern (twice) and Warningford (three times), whilst Home Of The Brave won it in both 2016 and 2017.
The main race over jumps is the Leicestershire Silver Fox Handicap Chase, which is usually run in December. Recent winners have included Little Jon and Oliver’s Hill. Leicester also play host to Hunter Chase Meetings. The most famous Hunter Chaser to have run at Leicester is probably Teeton Mill, who went onto be a star of the National Hunt scene with victories in the Hennessey Gold Cup and the King George VI Chase in 1998.
Leicester Racecourse does not implement a universal dress code for all meetings. However, racegoers should check any dress code that has been implemented for specific meetings, as anyone not adhering to dress codes are likely to be declined admission.
In 1982, Leicester Racecourse was the course at the heart of the Flockton Grey ringer case. The two-year-old Flockton Grey was declared to run but was replaced by a three-year-old called Good Hand that promptly won by 20-lengths. However, it was the margin of that victory that lead to an investigation, one that saw the trainer that trained both horses banned from 25-years. This was because there was a substantial gamble on the horse, one that meant the trainer could not possibly maintain he had simply made a mistake.
Address and Contact Details
Leicester Racecourse Co Ltd, Oadby, Leicester LE2 4AL
0116 271 6515