The Ultimate Guide to Hamilton Park Racecourse

Hamilton Racecourse Hamilton Park Racecourse is situated in South Lanarkshire, Scotland, approximately 10 miles south of Glasgow. The racecourse is set in what are widely considered some of the most idyllic ground in Britain racing, with manicured lawns and leafy paddocks that foster a relaxed, sociable atmosphere. The history of racing in the Hamilton area can be traced back to 1782, although it wasn't until 1926 that the racecourse was established in its current location. The racecourse has the distinction of being the first in Britain to stage an evening fixture, in 1947 and is still renowned for the atmosphere generated by its summer evening fixtures, of which there are eight in 2013. Altogether, Hamilton Park Racecourse stages 18 fixtures between May and September. The modern prosperity of Hamilton Park is due, in large part, to the achievements of William Wilson McHarg, who bought many of the shares in the course himself to secure its future when he became managing director in 1973.

For racegoers, Hamilton Park Racecourse offers just a single enclosure, with an admission price of £15 per person, on “themed” racedays, such as the Casino Royale Racenight in May, but two enclosures, known as the Club and Grandstand, with admission prices of £20 and £14, on “premier” racedays, such Saints & Sinners Racenight in June.

For corporate events, such as conferences, exhibitions and meetings, Hamilton Park Racecourse offers two permanent marquees, carpeted and heated throughout and overlooking the parade ring, the winners' enclosure and the racecourse itself. There are also 19 function suites, including the Dukes' Suite and Panorama Bar on the first floor of the main grandstand, offering flexibility for conferences or seminars and 20 acres of outdoor space suitable for exhibitions. Free car parking for over 1,000 vehicles is available on the racecourse site.

[column width=”40%” padding=”5%”]

Getting there

View Larger Map [/column] [column width=”55%” padding=”0″]

What's unique about the course at Hamilton?

Hamilton Guide
Hamilton Park is unusual inasmuch as it consists of a straight six furlong course, which is joined, approximately three furlongs from the winning post, by a right-handed loop. Races over 1 mile 5 furlongs 9 yards start in front of the stands, proceed around the loop and back to the winning post.

The bends are easy, but the pronounced undulations and stiff, uphill climb to the finish tend to favour horses who like to lead. Historically, there was a pronounced bias towards horses drawn high in sprint races at Hamilton Park, especially on soft ground, but extensive drainage work has reduced the incidence of soft going and any draw bias when it does occur.

Notable Races and Events

RodrigoThe four most valuable races run at Hamilton Park during the year are the Braveheart Handicap, run over 1 mile 4 furlongs in May, the John Smith's Scottish Stewards' Cup, run over 6 furlongs in July, the Glasgow Stakes, run over 1 mile 3 furlongs in July and the Lanark Silver Bell, run over 1 mile 4 furlongs in August.

Although the least valuable of the four in purely monetary terms, the Lanark Silver Bell is arguably the most notable race of the year at Hamilton Park. The original trophy for the race, the Silver Bell, is believed to have been presented to the Royal Burgh of Lanark by King William I of Scotland, also known as William “The Lion”, in 1165. The Lanark Silver Bell was run as an annual event at the now defunct Lanark Racecourse until 1977, but was resurrected at Hamilton Park in 2008. The original trophy, which bears inscriptions dating back to 1628, is too fragile to be presented to winning connections, but is on show to the public during Lanark Silver Bell Racenight in August.

In 2011, Hamilton Park received a Showcase Award from the Racecourse Association for its innovative project to ensure that racegoers receive value for money. The racecourse executive sought to improve the atmosphere and attendance around the parade ring between races by employing high profile figures from with the racing industry and beyond to entertain and inform racegoers, as well as making sweeping changes to the parade ring itself.

FaheyIn 2012, adverse weather caused the abandonment of four fixtures at Hamilton Park, effectively depriving the racecourse of over £200,000 in revenue. However, the racecourse executive has invested £150,000 in improvements, including extensive drainage work and increased the prize money on offer to over £750,000 in 2013.

Top Owners, Jockeys and Trainers

Paul Hanagan is the leading jockey at Hamilton Park during the last five seasons with 34 winners from 149 rides, although he's only three winners ahead of Joe Fanning with 31 winners from 132 rides.

North Yorkshire trainers Mark Johnston and Richard Fahey top the trainers' table, Johnston with 42 winners from 192 runners and Fahey with 37 winners from 182 runners. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum is far and away the leading owner in the last five seasons with 16 winners from 79 runners.

Follow Hamilton Park Racecourse on Social Networks

[column width=”46%” padding=”4%”]

[/column] [column width=”50%” padding=”0″]

Get your FREE copy of the Horse's Mouth Magazine

Cheltenham Special

Our free guide to Cheltenham Festival with all our Antepost tips 

VIP members need not apply, you'll be sent yours automatically on the 4th of March

Please check your inbox and don't forget to check the spam folder