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Taunton Racecourse

Published on: 20/11/2016

Sitting in the heart of Somerset’s beautiful countryside is Taunton Racecourse. The thoroughbred horse racing venue is situated in the small village of Orchard Portman which is two miles south of Taunton in the County of Somerset, England. The course is right-handed in direction and oval in shape, with a couple of sharp bends and two long straights. It covers a distance of one mile and two furlongs and features open ditches and fences. The venue stages around 15 race meetings per annum with the Christmas Race Meeting and New Year’s Race meeting being very popular.

Taunton Racecourse opened in 1927, making it the youngest National Hunt course in England. The land upon which the facility was built was known as Orchard Great Field and was donated by Viscount Portman. The first meeting took place in September 1927, under the name of the “Shoreditch Selling Hurdle”. Horse racing activity has been present in the Taunton area since the 18th century, but not on a continuous basis; sometimes racing stopped altogether due to lack of interest and at other times due to conflicts such as the Napoleonic War and the First World War.

Taunton Racecourse initially had a small wooden stand for its spectators. This was not ideal because it would often become very muddy and uncomfortable. Many attempts were made to drain the Somerset clay, and over time these efforts drastically improved the going. During the building of the M5 motorway, the surplus mud was taken to the course and used to enlarge the track’s back straight and bends. Over many years the facilities at Taunton Racecourse were also improved dramtically. Today the venue is favoured by top trainers and jockeys alike. Taunton Racecourse is exclusively used for National Hunt fixtures. The course has open ditches and fences which make up seven obstacles per circuit. There are two long straights and two major bends. These features are advantageous to horses of great stamina.

Taunton Racecourse is often referred to by the locals as being “a country track through and through” and the venue has gained a good reputation for having a warm and friendly atmosphere. The facilities at Taunton Racecourse include the Orchard Restaurant, along with its Tote Kiosk; the Winning Post Bar, the Saddle Room Cafe, cash machine, bookmakers shop, the Portman Bar and three enclosures.

Taunton racecourse offers race-day packages which should be pre-booked to avoid disappointment. The packages include a ticket for the grandstand, food and drink vouchers, race-card and a betting voucher for the Tote. Other tickets across a range of price are available including grandstand tickets, which offer access to all areas with the exception of the private boxes.

Under-16s can enter free of charge and car parking is free for everyone. The venue is located an hour’s drive from Bristol, three hours from London and 45 minutes from Exeter, and is also well-served by the national rail network.

Published on: 20/11/2016 © Bet Bind