Ayr Racecourse Guide

The premier racecourse in Scotland and scene of some of the biggest races in the horse racing calendar under both Flat and National Hunt rules, Ayr hosts a number of race-meeting throughout the year and the track itself has won a number of prestigious awards.

Horse racing fixtures at the track are regular and always well-attended; it is a track that any horse racing enthusiast should visit at least one to sample the best of Scottish racing.

Scottish Grand National Tips

91 Showlhs N

Ayr Major Meetings

While the track hosts around 50 meetings each calendar year with fixtures taking place both on the flat and over the sticks, there are two meetings which stand apart from Ayr’s typically busy fixture-list. 

On the flat the Ayr Gold Cup Meeting is the biggest race-day of the flat season at the Scottish venue as well as being one of the premier sprint handicaps of the entire campaign, attracting some notable names.  The Gold Cup meeting also includes consolation races with the Bronze Cup going to post on the second day of the fixture and the Silver Cup taking place earlier on Saturday’s third day prior to the main event.

Over jumps meanwhile the famous Scottish Grand National is the most high-profile race to be run at the track and the gruelling test is one of the biggest races of the entire racing calendar. The big race spearheads a classy two-day fixture which includes the Scottish Champion Hurdle and Graded action throughout the fixture. 

Ayr Track Characteristics

Ayr’s flat racing track is left-handed and galloping with sweeping turns. A chute allows for sprints up to six furlongs on the straight course and from the turn into the straight from the round course there is a slight uphill climb of four furlongs to the winning post. The turn into the straight is slightly downhill so prominent racers can get a decent advantage when in line for home and meeting the rising ground.

The jumps track boasts similar characteristics to the flat racing track, slightly undulating with a downhill run into the straight before a steady climb to the line. There are six hurdles - three on each straight - and nine fences to be jumped. 

Ground conditions are crucial on all tracks; Ayr can become very testing when the ground is soft but on quick ground the track rides very sharp and fast. 

Ayr Draw Bias

Ayr uses multiple starting positions for the stalls on the straight course which sees races over five and six furlongs, including the feature Ayr Gold Cup over the six furlongs. 

In general, front-runners who are drawn low tend to do best when stalls are placed away from the stands’ rail; this is often reversed when stalls are placed on the stands’ rail where horses drawn high are favoured. 

Ayr Leading Trainers

No trainer’s record really stands out at Ayr on the flat although Tim Easterby does boast an impressive 62-point profit over the past five years from his runners at the track.

Over the sticks it is often worth sticking with Irish handler Gordon Elliott’s runners when they travel to Ayr with the Meath handler boasting a 26% strike-rate over the past five years. Closer to home Nicky Alexander’s runners are worth a second look with the trainer holding an impressive 69-point profit over the same period.

Ayr Leading Jockeys

Over the past five seasons, Danny Tudhope boasts the best strike-rate amongst the flat racing jockeys, winning on around 16% of his mounts at the track although Kevin Stott isn’t far behind and boasts a 28-point profit over the same period. 

Joe Fanning, Ben Curtis and Paul Mulrennan also hold similar win percentages on their respective records.

Over jumps Brian Hughes has won on around 15% of his rides at Ayr over the past five years, while Sean Quinlan boasts a stakes profit of 47 points from his mounts at the Scottish track over the same period. 

Ayr Track History

There has been horse racing held at Ayr since 1576 but the first official organised meeting didn’t take place until 1771 with a two-day fixture. The Ayr Gold Cup,  the course’s biggest race on the flat was first run in 1804.

The original Ayr racecourse was only around one mile round and quickly became too small for it’s growing popularity; it was subsequently moved to its current location in 1907 and modelled around Newbury’s layout although unlike that course the straight track at Ayr is only six furlongs. 

In 1950 Ayr established its’ jumps racing track and took over the running of the Scottish Grand National when the Bogside Racecourse closed its’ doors in 1965. The race was run at Ayr for the first time the following year.

Ayr Racecourse Address

Ayr Racecourse
Whitletts Road

Ayr Racecourse Directions

By car  – Ayr Racecourse is situated just off the M77, which links the town of Ayr with Glasgow, less than 40 miles away. The course is in the centre of town on the A758.

By bus – There are regular buses to Ayr from Glasgow. Route X77 leaving from Buchanan Street Bus Station takes around one hour. 

By train – Ayr racecourse is less than five minutes from Ayr railway station, with regular services linking the town with the whole of Scotland.

By air – Prestwick International Airport is the closest airport for air passengers and is about 10 mins away from the track. Glasgow Airport is around an hour away.