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Redcar Racecourse

Published on: 31/10/2013

Redcar racecourse is located on the north Yorkshire coast, in the picturesque seashore resort town of Redcar. It is ideally suited for racing, being perfectly flat, and of oval layout, while spanning a distance of one mile six furlongs. The main event it stages is the totepool – a two year old race, which includes the £150000 prime competition, and the prestigious Guisborough Stakes. This draws jockeys from afar, hoping for the honour of winning, as much as the impressive prize fund of £150000. Along with numerous other races, the course also stages the final event in the Straight Mile Championship Series.

Redcar racecourse has a distinguished history. The area has long been associated with horseracing. In the 18th century the beach itself was a location for competitions. Such was the attraction of these seafront spectacles that a grandstand was constructed to cater for the crowds, that flocked to see the horses galloping across the sand. It was a local joiner, one Mr Adamson, who built the grandstand – he was the proprietor of the Lobster Inn in Coatham, and also for a time chairman of the track.

At the instigation of the newly constructed Jockey Club, and on the recommendation of numerous people (including many of the jockeys), the course left beach in 1870. It moved to where it currently stands, in the middle of 80 acres of flatland, right in the heart of the town. Two years after its relocation a parade ring was made to encompass the track, and many other features, such as private boxes, and hurdles were added. Many lamented the move however, complaining that the capacity was greater at the beach, and Mr Adamson’s grandstand could certainly be put to use in its new location. These entreaties were eventually acceded to, and an impressive grandstand was constructed, which was apparently “second to none in the whole Kingdom,” according to a press report of the day.

Like so many other racetracks, Redcar served its country well during the First World War, by being used as a training ground for pilots. The Royal Naval Air Service spoke excellently of it, stating that its “vast flat terrain, unencumbered by trees, nor blighted by crosswinds” was ideal to train new air pilots. During the Second World War it was used as a basic army camp, and unfortunately during these years, and those thereafter, it was neglected, and fell into disrepair. In 1953, at the insistence of many local residents and jockeys, it underwent a major act of renovation. It wasn’t just retuned to its previous state before the war however, but was improved in many significant ways. It soon featured state of the art closed circuit televisions, first furlong posts, and a timing clock. In the mid sixties a brand new grandstand was constructed, to cater for the ever growing popularity of the track.

In 1981 Redcar underwent another upgrade – to cater for the calibre of some of the horses, trainers and jockeys it was now attracting, a new luxury stable block was built, along with sleeping quarters, and new paddock rooms. In 1989 the now renowned two year old trophy race was inaugurated, and a little later the Zetland Gold Cup, to be held on Mayday, was added to the every growing list of races run at Redcar.

Many notable Jockeys and Trainers are associated with the course. Paul Hanagan has run many of his best races there, while the trainers Richard Fahey and Tim Easterby have a great liking and loyalty towards Redcar. Many put the attraction of the course down to a simple fact: the terrain and layout of the track itself. The sharply angled bends on the left handed oval are particularly challenging, and the straight course itself is said by many to be the only truly straight mile in the whole of the UK.

Published on: 31/10/2013 © Bet Bind
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