Stratford-upon-Avon Racecourse, often shortened to simply Stratford Racecourse, is situated off the B439 Evesham Road just outside the market town of Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, on the south-west border of the county in the West Midlands region of England. Racing was first recorded on Shottery Meadow in the town in 1755, but regular race meetings weren't staged until 1849. Various improvements have been made to the racecourse and its facilities over the years. A modern restaurant block was constructed in 1965 and in 1969 two fields adjoining the course were incorporated as they had been in the original course design, allowing the circuit to be made larger and the bends easier. A new, glass-fronted grandstand was opened in 1997. Nowadays, Stratford plays host to nineteen National Hunt fixtures between March and October.
For racegoers, Stratford Racecourse offers the choice of the Club Enclosure at £20, the Tattersalls Enclosure at £16 and the Course Enclosure at £10. Admission is free for accompanied children and special children's entertainment is provided on certain racedays.
For corporate events, such as conferences, exhibitions and meetings, Stratford Racecourse offers numerous suites and outdoor areas. The Paddock Suite, on the ground floor, for example, can accommodate up to 200 people for dinner. The Paddock Suite, like the other suites, can be decorated to your requirements. All or part of the racecourse site is available for hire on days when racing doesn't take place and free parking is available.
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What's the Stratford course like?
The course at Stratford consists of a sharp, flat triangle, a mile and a quarter around, with a short straight. There are eight, fairly easy, fences per circuit, two of which are in the straight.
Notable Races and Events
Stratford Racecourse is home to a distinguished array of regular races, some of which date back fifty years or more. The Stratford Foxhunters Champion Hunters' Chase, which will be run for the 55th time in June 2013, is the final race of its kind during the National Hunt season. In 2012, the 3½-mile contest was won by
Salsify, trained by Rodger Sweeney, who went on to win the Foxhunter Chase Challenge Cup at the Cheltenham Festival and the Champion Hunters Chase at Punchestown later in the same season.
The Champion Novices' Hunters' Chase for the John Corbet Cup is run over the same distance on the same card as the Stratford Foxhunters Champion Hunters' Chase and is another race with a rich history. In 2012, the race was won by Rumbury Grey, trained by Steve Flook.
The late Fred Winter, who was Champion National Hunt Jockey four times between 1952 and 1958 before becoming an even more successful trainer, trained his last runner and winner, Stag Dinner, at Stratford in June, 1988. Stag Dinner was the last of 1,557 winners Winter trained in Britain in 24 seasons between 1964 and 1988.
The late Aubrey Brabazon, probably best remembered for his association with Vincent O'Brien, for whom he rode Cottage Raketo three successive victories in the Cheltenham Gold Cup between 1948and 1950, rode his last winner, over hurdles, at Stratford in 1960.
Top Owners,Jockeys and Trainers
Tony McCoy and Richard Johnson have ridden 28 winners apiece at Stratford over the last five seasons, but McCoy has a marginally better strike rate. He's needed 130 rides to achieve that total, while Johnson has need 153 rides. Vale of Glamorgan trainer Tim Vaughan, who likes to secure the services of Richard Johnson when he's available, tops the trainers' table with 19 winners from 113 runners in the same period, while John Patrick “J.P.” McManus, who provides Tony McCoy with many of his winners, is the leading owner with 14 winners from 88 runners.
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