Hamilton Racecourse Guide
Situated close to the main M74 motorway linking Scotland and England, Hamilton Park is one of the most scenic and popular racecourses in Scotland, boasting some quality flat racing action through the season and concerts after racing. Located between Glasgow and Edinburgh Hamilton’s layout is unique in the UK and a warm welcome awaits racegoers.
Hamilton Major Meetings
Hamilton Park stages around 20 fixtures each season, notably the ‘Saints And Sinners’ Charity meeting in June and the ‘Fair Friday’ meeting in July. There are several notable races held at Hamilton each season with features including the Lanark Silver Bell Handicap, the Listed Glasgow Stakes and the Scottish Stewards’ Cup amongst the top races to be held at the track.
Hamilton Track Characteristics
Hamilton’s layout is unique amongst UK racecourses due to the use of a loop at the top end of the course for longer races which sees runners race the wrong way down the track before heading left into the loop and swinging back round to race back towards the stands. Races of distances of ten furlongs and upwards begin in the home straight and see horses racing towards the loop; while sprint races of five and six furlongs start from a chute at the far end of the track.
Hamilton has some pronounced undulations and the uphill climb to the line from around the three furlong marker is severe. The loop sees a steady rise to the top of the track before a sweeping downhill bend brings runners back into the home straight and the course continues downhill into a hollow where the ground quickly rises back towards the stands. Races especially sprints can be strongly-run affairs and jockeys can get racing too early leaving little reserves for the punishing climb to the line.
The course is considered right-handed due to the direction horses take racing through the loop and sharp in nature; relaxed horses which can settle and travel strongly have an advantage here over more precocious types who might be keen to take a hold and overrace.
Hamilton Draw Bias
There’s very little bias in sprints at Hamilton although horses drawn low when the ground is soft hold slight sway; while higher numbers are slightly favoured on better ground. In general though the draw has little effect in sprints and it is more a case of the strongest stayer wins over the punishing uphill climb.
In races starting in the loop the draw bias tends to favour those drawn high; while low numbers tend to come to the fore in races which start in the straight and race around the loop. However overall the draw at Hamilton is fair regardless of the distance and horses can win from anywhere.
The uphill finish can make it difficult for horses caught back in the field to make up ground on pacesetters and Hamilton is a decent track for front-runners and those who race prominently.
Hamilton Leading Trainers
It has proven difficult for any trainer over the past five years to turn a consistent profit with no trainer featuring in the Racing Post top trainers’ table for the period operating in the black. Kevin Ryan though does show a strike-rate over the past five years in excess of 20%. Jim Goldie has had the most runners at the track over the season.
Hamilton Leading Jockeys
Over the past five seasons no rider has amassed the record that Ben Curtis has and the rider boasts an impressive strike-rate at the Scottish track with a healthy profit over the period. Paul Mulrennan is the only other rider in profit looking back at the past five years although the top jockey does boast a similar strike-rate to Danny Tudhope and David Allan.
Curtis has enjoyed a very fruitful 2022 season at Hamilton, riding eight winners from 21 rides for a profit of 17 points; while Andrew Mullen also returned a profit albeit a much more modest one. Paul Mulrennan continued to be a jockey to note at Hamilton, riding eleven winners although he did get the leg up on more horses than any other.
Hamilton Track History
Racing at Hamilton has been around since 1782 although not at its’ current location and the course at the time was used for jumps racing until 1907 when the venue closed its’ doors. The current site for Hamilton Park didn’t come into use until 1926 and started with a two-day fixture.
For many years Hamilton Park and nearby Lanark Racecourse hosted racing in Lanarkshire before the latter closed its’ doors in 1977. The famous Lanark Silver Bell race moved from Lanark to Hamilton as a result.
Hamilton Park staged Scotland’s first evening racing meeting in 1947. The track is owned by the Hamilton Park Trust which puts all profits back into developing the racecourse.
While the course is well-known for its’ racing exploits the course has also become a concert venue with many top acts performing after racedays.
Hamilton Racecourse Address
The official racecourse address for Hamilton racecourse is:
Hamilton Park Racecourse
How To get to Hamilton Racecourse
If you’re planning a trip to Hamilton Park Racecourse here’s how to get there:
By car: Hamilton Park is easily accessible from both Glasgow and Edinburgh due to its’ proximity to the main M8 and M74 motorways. From the M8, leave at Junction 7 onto the A725 and head towards Strathclyde Country Park; the course will be signposted as you get closer and certainly from the roundabout linking the A725 with the M74.
From the M74 exit from Junction 5 and join the roundabout onto the A725; from there follow the signs for the racecourse. Parking in the main carpark is free.
By train: Hamilton is again well served by train with direct services available from Glasgow Central to Hamilton; the course is around a 20 minute walk from the station. Travellers coming by train from Edinburgh should change at Motherwell for connections to Hamilton.
By Bus: Bus service 255 operating between Glasgow Buchanan Street Bus Station and Hamilton Bus Station both service Hamilton Park racecourse with a stop outside the main gate.
By air: Glasgow International and Edinburgh International Airports are each around 40 minutes’ drive to the track.