Leicester Racecourse is situated in the town of Oadby, three miles south of Leicester city centre, in Leicestershire in the English Midlands. Racing in Leicester took place at Victoria Park, originally part of the South Field of Leicester, between 1806 and 1883, but was transferred to Leicester Racecourse, in its current location in 1883. Leicester Racecourse has continued to flourish ever since and, nowadays, is one of the busiest racecourses in the country with 33 Flat and National Hunt fixtures throughout the year. Recent developments include the glass-fronted Belvoir Grandstand and the Club Suite, which incorporates the Owners and Trainers Lounge.
Leicester Racecourse offers racegoers a choice of three enclosures, known as Club, Premier and Grandstand, on weekends and bank holidays, although on weekdays and for music dates, such as Ladies' Day featuring the Human League on July 6, the Premier and Grandstand enclosures become one enclosure. General admission prices range from £35 in the Club enclosure on weekends and bank holidays to £12 in the one enclosure on weekdays. Concessions are available for senior citizens and students, except on music dates and admission is free for accompanied children.
For corporate events, such as conferences, meetings and exhibitions, Leicester Racecourse offers a range of flexible indoor spaces, plus free use of outdoor areas, weather permitting, during the day. Executive boxes overlooking the racecourse are available for smaller meetings, or for use as breakout rooms for larger conferences. The Exhibition Centre, on the ground floor of the grandstand, is capable of accommodating up to 120 people for exhibitions, product launches and trade shows and the Nelson Suite, on the first floor, can accommodate up to 400 people in a variety of layouts. Complementary parking for up to 2,000 vehicles is available, along with free Wi-Fi throughout the site.
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What's unique about the course at Leicester?
On the Flat and over Jumps, Leicester Racecourse can be described as a right-handed, galloping, testing track. On the Flat, the round course is an oval, approximately 14 furlongs around, with a 4½-furlong straight.
Races up to and including 7 furlongs are run on the straight course, which runs downhill for 3½ furlongs, uphill for 2 furlongs and levels out before the winning post. In terms of any draw bias, high numbers are best on the straight course.
The Jumps course is rectangular, with 10 fences per circuit and a run-in of just over a furlong. The last 3 furlongs are all uphill, so Leicester presents a stiff test of stamina.
Notable Races and Events
The most prestigious race during the year at Leicester is the Leicestershire Stakes, a listed race run over 7 furlongs 9 yards in April. The most successful horse in the history of the race is Warningford, trained by James Fanshawe, who won three times, in 1999, 2001 and 2002, although it's worth noting that the 2001 running took place at Newmarket rather than Leicester.
In 2012, the Horse Racing Levy Board approved a grant of over £26,000 to Leicester Racecourse, mainly for remedial work on the track. One of the problems facing the groundsman at Leicester Racecourse is the narrowness of the track, which makes it difficult to provide fresh ground. The racecourse executive has undertaken a project, of its own volition, to create a new bend on the far side of the course. Remarkably, the steeplechase course at Leicester has never had an irrigation system at any time in its 130-history but, thanks to an outstanding root structure, maintains a healthy covering of turf all year round.
Top Owners, Jockeys and Trainers
On the Flat at Leicester, Ryan Moore is the leading jockey during the last five seasons with 25 winners from 66 rides, at a strike rate of 38%, for a level stakes profit of 17.17 points. Cathy Gannon, who's actually in fifth place in the jockeys' table with 12 winners from 93 rides, is worthy of an honourable mention because of her 70.13 level stakes profit during the same period. Richard Hannon tops the trainers' table with 26 winners from 141 runners, although he's only just ahead of Mark Johnston, who's saddled 22 winners from 109 runners. Godolphin is the leading owner with 17 winners from 59 runners during the last five seasons.
Over Jumps, Tony McCoy is by far the most successful jockey at Leicester during the last five seasons with 22 winners from 55 rides. His nearest pursuer, Richard Johnson, has ridden just 10 winners from 51 rides in the same period. However, that situation can be explained by looking at the trainers' and owners' tables. Nicky Henderson and Jonjo O'Neill, who both train horses for J.P. McManus, are first and second in the trainers' table with 14 winners from 34 runners and 12 winners from 63 runners respectively, while McManus himself tops the owners' table with 11 winners from 52 runners.
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