John Frail pampered to the whims of the aristocracy when he staged flat racing on the current site of Windsor Racecourse in 1866, though it is believed that horse racing had taken place in one form or another for several centuries beforehand in the surrounding area.
Nowadays, Windsor Racecourse hosts flat racing from April to October each year, with the Monday evening meetings proving very popular with the local crowds.
Windsor’s biggest races include the Royal Windsor Stakes, The Leisure Stakes, the Midsummer Stakes the August Stakes, and the Winter Hill Stakes.
Course Type: Jumps
Current Owner: Arena Racing
Quirky, unique, and exciting are all words that can be used to describe Windsor’s unique figure-of-eight track. It measures just over 12-furlongs in length, and races at a mile and a half require runners to navigate both left-handed and right-handed bends. The bend into the straight is right-handed and derives its nickname of ‘carnage corner’ because of the trouble that horses can get into there. That’s because it often pays to be as close to the running rail as possible and jockeys are all trying to plot a path to come with heir runs as close to the rail as possible.
However, it can be just as bad when the ground rides soft, as jockeys tend to make their way to the opposite rail where the ground often rides quicker.
Windsor Racecourse has five notable races, with four of them being Listed Races and one being a Group 3 Race.
The Royal Windsor Stakes is the first Listed Race in May and it takes place over a mile. Dual winners of the race include Swallow Flight and Ordnance Row, whilst the classy Arod won the 2018 renewal.
The Leisure Stakes also takes place in May over 6 furlongs and this Listed sprint has been won by Habibti and Polish Patriot. More recently, the classy The Tin Man has won both the 2016 and 2018 renewals for trainer James Fanshawe.
The Listed Midsummer Stakes takes place in July over a mile and has been won by the likes of Thistlebird, Kodi Bear and Morando.
There are no prizes for guessing which month the Listed August Stakes takes place in, but this lucrative contest has been won by some classy types in recent season including Second Step and Desert Encounter.
The Group 3 Winter Hill Stakes also takes place in August over 10 furlongs, with the race’s highest-rated winner being the 2014 victor Al Kazeem. Meanwhile, the 2017 and 2018 renewals were won by Fabricate, who is owned by The Queen.
Windor Races describe itself as the ‘place to be seen’, so take note of the dress code if you’re going. Hotly-contested Ladies’ Day and Gentlemen’s Day competitions set the tone, and smart dress is a must in the Club Enclosure and all restaurant areas. Anyone wearing ripped denim, sports attire, t-shirts, and trainers will be refused admission. Even children should dress smartly.
Jump racing took place at Windsor Racecourse until 1998, when the owners decided that it would be beneficial to stop to preserve the ground for the flat racing season, as this attracted bigger crowds. Jumps racing did make a comeback in 2004/05, but only whilst Ascot was being redeveloped.
In October 2012, jockey Richard Hughes wowed the crowds by riding seven winners at one meeting.
Windsor Racecourse, Maidenhead Road, Windsor, Berkshire, SL4 5JJ
01753 498 400