Stratford-Upon-Avon may be better known as William Shakespeare country, but Stratford Racecourse has also been helping to attract plenty of visitors to the area since the mid-eighteenth century.
Unusually, compared to many National Hunt courses, Stratford’s season runs from March to November, a period in which the course stages around 18 or 19 fixtures. Many of these are summer fixtures, designed to attract groups of racegoers and families to jumps meetings where the weather is more like that associated with high-class flat racing.
The course stages a number of fun meetings, such as Riverside Sunday, Hunter Chase Evening, Family Day, Ladies Day, Stratford Super Saturday, and Octoberfest. It also provides racegoers with an excellent choice of restaurants and bars. Restaurants include the Gallery Restaurant and the Paddock Pavillion. Meanwhile, bars include the Champagne bar, the Bridge Bar, and the Sadlers Bar. The Centre Course enclosure even allows you to pitch a gazebo, where you can enjoy your own barbecue or picnic.
Stratford also attracts runners from many of the top national hunt stables, whilst notable races include the George Pragnell Cup Handicap Chase and the Stratford Foxhunters’ Champion Chase.
Course Type: Jumps
Current Owner: Stratford-Upon-Avon Racecourse Company Limited
Stratford racecourse is almost triangular in shape and measures around 11 furlongs. It is also a flat, left-handed track where races tend to be run at a fast pace throughout, meaning the course is ideal for horses that travel easily throughout their races. This means hurdles races at Stratford are often the target for ex-flat horses that have plenty of experience of racing at speed. However, horses must also be able to jump at speed. A short run-in makes it very difficult for a horse to come from behind after jumping the last. The fences on the chase course also take some jumping and, with the emphasis again on speed, poor jumpers are usually quickly left behind.
Stratford is popular with trainers and jockeys as, for one of the smaller courses on the national hunt circuit, it tends to offer decent levels of prize money at most of its meetings.
Two of its most notable races are the Pertemps Network Stratford Foxhunters’ Champion Chase and the George Pragwell Gold Cup Handicap Chase. The Stratford Foxhunters’ Champion Chase usually takes place over the marathon trip of 3 miles 3 furlongs and 119 yards in June at the Hunter Chase Evening Meeting. One of the most high-profile winners of the race is 2015 winner Paint The Clouds, though subsequent renewals have been won by relatively unfancied outsiders in Young Hurricane (16/1) and Chosen Dream (66/1). Meanwhile, the George Pragwell Gold Cup Handicap Chase is run over 2 miles 6 furlongs and 125 yards at the Stratford Super Saturday meeting in September. Recent winners include Gowanauthat, Play The Ace, and Monbeg Legend.
Stratford Racecourse aims to make a day at the races fun for everyone, so it asks that racegoers attending the Club Enclosure adhere to the smart casual dress code. People wearing ripped jeans will be refused admission. There is no dress code in the Centre Course or Tattersalls areas. However, the course always urges racegoers to consider the weather forecast before choosing what to wear for the day.
Stratford Racecourse promotes and provides special packages for any groups of ladies that are considering a day at the races. These packages are called the Beauty and the Beast and include a half-day at the local Miri At Le Spa before an afternoon or evening at the races. They are especially aimed at Hen Parties.
Stratford-upon-Avon Racecourse, Luddington Road, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, CV37 9SE