Course by Course Betting Tips
There are many factors to consider before deciding to have a punt on horse racing. The form and well-being of your horse is important but, equally, you need to know a bit about the track. Here’s a quick guide to Britain’s jumps racing venues.
The Liverpool venue is home to the most famous steeplechase of all, the Grand National. A left-handed track which boasts some of the most fearsome fences in racing, Aintree is relatively flat and will play to the strengths of a strong traveller that jumps well.
Best known for: The Grand National – April
Tip: Strong travellers rewarded. Track favours pace horses.
Ascot is a right-handed track and provides a true stamina test when runners turn out of the famous Swinley Bottom corner to start a long upward climb on the home straight. Most of the final mile is uphill before it flattens out again close to the finishing line.
Best known for: Long Walk Hurdle – December
Tip: Galloping track favouring those close to the pace.
Scotland’s only Grade One course, Ayr is a relatively flat left-handed track run in a 12-furlong oval. It is mostly flat with some undulations but is roundly considered to be a fair track for all.
Best known for: Scottish Grand National – April
Tip: Downhill run favours front-runners on quick, but holds up horses benefitted by soft ground.
The only Welsh course that stages national hunt racing exclusively, Bangor is a left-handed flat track and is perhaps most famous for being the only UK racecourse not to have a grandstand!
Best known for: Anne Duchess of Westminster’s Charity Day – October
Tip: Suits handy runners.
Carlisle is an undulating and often punishing right-handed layout. During the jumps season, the final half mile is a real test for any horse – a steep uphill journey on ground that is notoriously testing.
Best known for: Cumberland Plate Day – June
Tip: Strong stayer needed with plenty of stamina.
Cartmel is a unique part of the summer jumping scene. The track is a very tight, left-handed oval and takes some getting for any horse. Its four-furlong run-in is the longest on any British racecourse.
Best known for: BBQ Meeting – July
Tip: Punishes horses kicked for home too soon. Despite length, is a speed track.
A sharp, left-handed oval with a three furlong run-in, Catterick’s gates are open all year round due to the often prevailing good ground they can provide. It is a gem of northern racing.
Best known for: Christmas At Catterick – December
Tip: Downhill run into the straight favours front runners & specialists.
The Mecca for jump’s horses, Cheltenham is where they all want to race. The unique undulations of Prestbury Park are one it’s endearing qualities, alongside the world-famous Cheltenham hill which has undone many a prospective winner. The ultimate test.
Best known for: Cheltenham Festival – March
Tip: Galloping/Stiff course. Front-runners often stopping in handicap hurdles.
Home of the Welsh National, Chepstow comes to life in December. This undulating left-handed track demands a strong stayer, with a five-furlong home straight in which there are five fences to clear.
Best known for: Welsh Grand National – December
Tip: Depends on the ground on the day. Stamina preferred.
Jumps racing on Town Moor goes left-handed around the near two-mile pear-shaped track. With its close associations with flat racing, Doncaster is a very level track and its fences are deemed fair.
Best known for: December Novices’ Chase – December
Tip: Fair Track suited to galloping.
High-up on the Haldon hills, this undulating left-handed track is known for the unrivalled views of jumps that can be seen from the grandstand and it hosts one of the key early-season jumps races. Exeter’s forgiving fences offer a great start for novice jumpers.
Best known for: Haldon Gold Cup – November
Tip: Fair track, can be won from behind or in front.
Almost square in shape, Fakenham is another intricate track that takes some getting used to. The left-handed layout boasts just six fences per circuit and there are 11 jumps meetings held here annually.
Best known for: New Year’s Day Meeting – January
Tip: Speed happens a long way from home, favours those ridden with restraint.
Britain’s newest jumps course, Ffos Las became the first new national hunt course for 80 years when it opened in 2009. Ffos Las is a galloping, flat left-handed course in the beautiful Welsh countryside.
Best known for: Welsh Champion Hurdle – February
Tip: Fair Track suited to runners with Stamina.
Britain’s only figure of eight chase track is at Fontwell Park, alongside an oval hurdles track. The Grade Two National Spirit Hurdle has been landed by the likes of My Way De Solzen and Lough Derg as a Cheltenham Festival trial.
Best known for: National Spirit Hurdle – February
Tip: Sharp track with a stiff finish. Suited to good travellers.
Haydock is a typically flat left-handed track with a marginally uphill climb towards the winning post over the final four furlongs. It hosts one of the premier mid-winter chase prizes – lit up in recent times by the likes of Kauto Star, Bristol De Mai and Lostintranslation.
Best known for: Betfair Chase – November
Tip: Sharp Bends. Front runners benefit on fast ground.
Hexham is a mile-and-a-half left-handed oval track which features a very short run-in of just 250 yards. It is the most northerly jumps track in England.
Best known for: Cheltenham Raceday – March
Tip: Fair track with stiff uphill finish. Suited to runners with stamina.
Huntingdon boasts a flat, right-handed oval of around a-mile-and-a-half that is positioned just an hour from central London, 20 miles to the north-west of Cambridge.
Best known for: Peterborough Chase – November
Tip: Sharp, flat track. Favours small but strong travellers
Both the hurdles and chase tracks at Kelso are sharp, left-handed layouts that measure just more than a mile each. There is a steep uphill climb to the winning post.
Best known for: Premier Hurdle – March
Tip: Stamina necessary when ground is soft.
A flat-right handed, galloping track – Kempton comes alive on Boxing Day each year. Kempton offers a vastly differing challenge to the likes of Cheltenham for elite chasers.
Best known for: King George VI Chase – December
Tip: Long & straight. Runners can win from the front and behind. Some sharp turns.
A two-mile, right-handed oval track, Leicester presents a steady but not overly demanding climb all the way up the home straight.
Best known for: Start of National Hunt Raceday – November
Tip: Galloping fair track. Front runners may go too fast before the climb.
Lingfield’s jumps track is a flat two-mile course that goes left-handed. Nicky Henderson’s string can often be found here as they come from nearby Seven Barrows.
Best known for: December Jumps Meeting – December
Tip: Downhill straight favours front-runners. Handy runners preferred over jumps.
Ludlow presents a flat, mile-and-a-half, right-handed track with three road crossings where traffic stops during racing.
Best known for: Summer Meeting – May
Tip: Fences come quickly, accurate jumpers preferred.
The mile-and-half oval track goes right-handed and Market Rasen provides jumps racing all year round.
Best known for: Summer Plate Meeting – July
Tip: Speed track. Front runners on the straight favoured.
A two-mile left-handed track on the outskirts of Edinburgh, Musselburgh has a nine-hole golf course on the inner of what is essentially a flat track.
Best known for: Scottish County Hurdle – February
Tip: Favours runners on the pace.
Newbury’s one-mile-and-seven furlong left-handed track hosts one of the most prestigious handicaps of the year in the Ladbrokes Trophy.
Best known for: Ladbrokes Trophy – November
Tip: Long, straight, fair track. Bigger horses can hit their stride.
Left-handed and around a mile-and-a-half long, Gosforth Park is a galloping layout that has become a noted stayers’ track.
Best known for: Fighting Fifth Hurdle – November/early December
Tip: Galloping track suited to stayers.
Newton Abbot’s oval track is around nine furlongs in length and while the track is quite tight the fences themselves are somewhat forgiving before a short run-in.
Best known for: Summer Jumps – June-August
Tip: Favours strong travellers close to the pace.
Perth is right-handed oval that measures ten-furlongs. The hurdles and chase courses combine up the home straight. It is also Scotland’s most northerly course.
Best known for: Perth Festival – April
Tip: Flat, fair track. Runners benefit when ridden with restraint to avoid racing too far out.
One of the smaller tracks, it is rather hilly and has a tightish left-handed circuit of just over a mile with an uphill finish to the winning line.
Best known for: Sussex National – January
Tip: Favours good jumpers ridden hard.
Sandown is a galloping right-handed track with a steep uphill finish. The famous Railway Fences in the back straight provide a stiff jumping test, coming up in quick succession before the renowned Pond Fence.
Best known for: Tingle Creek Chase – December
Tip: Front-runners favoured over jumps and on flat.
Set in the beautiful Durham countryside, Sedgefield is another left-handed track with a three-furlong finish which combines a downhill run to the final fence before an uphill run to the winning post.
Best known for: Paxtons Season Finale – May
Tip: Short run favouring those in the right position at the last turn.
Southwell is a tight left-handed track with notoriously unforgiving obstacles. The finish is flat and somewhat easier than most jumps tracks.
Best known for: Countryside Evening – May
Tip: Good for handy runners on the pace. Best for strong travellers.
A left-handed oval track of about a mile and a quarter with sharp bends and a short home straight, Stratford favours prominent racing horses.
Best known for: Pertemps Cup Champion Hunters’ Chase – May
Tip: Speed track. Better for smaller, tidy horses.
Taunton is a ten-furlong undulating jumps track that tends to play into the hands of prominent racers.
Best known for: Season Finale evening meeting – April
Tip: Sharp track where runners tend to speed up too early. Favours a strong traveller.
Towcester is an undulating right-handed track that will forever be remembered as the place where AP McCoy brought up his 4000th career win on Mountain Tunes.
Best known for: Easter Sunday Meeting – April
Tip: Stiff track. Better for sharper horses. Hard to manage uphill on soft ground.
A ten-furlong-left handed oval with a unique and perhaps quirky dog-leg in the back straight. Uttoxeter tends to reward front-runners.
Best known for: Midlands Grand National – March
Tip: Front-runners rewarded when track is quick. Stamina required on soft.
Warwick is a fairly undulating right-handed track which now prides itself as one of the best small jumps venues in Britain since it ceased to stage flat racing in 2014.
Best known for: Kingmaker Chase – February
Tip: Speed Track. Accurate jumpers do well.
Wetherby is a fairly flat and relatively fair track that places a premium on accurate jumping. It attracts the best horses in the north throughout the winter.
Best known for: Charlie Hall Chase – October/early November
Tip: Galloping track favouring those on the pace.
Wincanton offers some fairly imposing obstacles on its right-handed layout, none more so than three in quick succession up the home straight. A real jumper’s course, it is close by the yard of Paul Nicholls and the Ditcheat handler does very well here.
Best known for: Kingwell Hurdle – February
Tip: Accurate jumpers favoured as fences come up quick.
A right-handed oval track, its proximity to the river Severn means the ground is often quite soft, even though they race predominantly in summer.
Best known for: Ladies Day – June
Tip: Fair track suited to runners with speed on quick ground.