Haydock Racecourse Guide
Haydock Park is one of the premier racecourses in the country and arguably the top dog of the northern racecourses, situated in Merseyside and close to both Liverpool and Manchester.
Owned by the Jockey Club, Haydock Park is a dual-purpose track and one of the busiest horse racing venues in the country hosting racing all year round both on the flat and over jumps. There is a number of highly prestigious races taking place at the track under both codes including a Group One on the flat and a Grade One over obstacles.
The course has twice been voted Racecourse Of The Year and with four grandstands and top-class facilities throughout it isn’t hard to understand why Haydock is in the top-tier of racecourses around the country.
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Haydock Major Meetings
Haydock Park features top-class racing throughout the year, both on the flat and over obstacles.
The pick of the flat racing season is the Group One Haydock Sprint Cup which has been won by some top-class sprinters including Hello Youmzain, The Tin Man and Harry Angel in recent seasons although Haydock is also the home of the Lancashire Oaks and both the Temple Stakes and Sandy Lane Stakes - all Group Two contests - and the famous Old Newton Cup Handicap amongst other classy races.
Over jumps the feature race of Haydock’s calendar is the Grade One Betfair Chase, won by the likes of Kauto Star, Cue Card, Bristol De Mail, A Plus Tard and Silvinaco Conti amongst others. The race is the first of the chasing ‘Triple Crown’ which also includes Kempton’s King George VI Chase and the Cheltenham Gold Cup. It is the first Grade One race of the British National Hunt season, taking place in November.
Other big races over jumps at Haydock include the Grade Two Champion Hurdle Trial and the Rendlesham Hurdle; while over fences the Tommy Whittle Chase, Peter Marsh Chase and Grand National Trial all take place at the track through the jumps season.
Haydock Track Characteristics
Haydock Park is a left-handed track, predominantly flat throughout although the four furlong run-in features a slight incline from turning in. A circuit of the Haydock Park course is around one mile five furlongs and the track features a chute to allow sprint races up to six furlongs to be run on a straight course.
The track is galloping in nature and considered fair although runners favour one rail or another depending on ground conditions. The track can be very testing when wet, putting an emphasis on stamina over speed although the opposite is true on quicker ground where it can pay to side with front-runners.
Fences at Haydock are stiff but not as tricky or unforgiving as they once were. Haydock’s fences are portable which has lessened their difficulty to a degree, but it still takes a good jumper to get round and the track remains a difficult test of jumping when the ground is soft.
Haydock utilises brush hurdles which offer a stiffer test than conventional hurdles and they are placed quite close together down the back,providing a decent jumping test.
Haydock Draw Bias
In sprints down the straight course, it can be a big advantage in being drawn high under the stands’ side rail, especially for front-runners when the ground is quick as they can often get away from the field. On softer ground however those drawn low can be really competitive in sprints, especially in bigger fields with fields tending to race down the middle.
Races over seven furlongs and one mile can favour those drawn low given their proximity to the far rail when turning in and those to the fore can steal a march on those behind by coming across to the stands’ side.
Races over obstacles tend to be well-run affairs, putting an emphasis on stamina in the winter although on better ground such as during the Swinton Hurdle meeting in May the emphasis on speed comes into play.
Haydock Leading Trainers
Haydock has proven a decent hunting ground for several trainers, especially Ralph Beckett over the past few seasons with the trainer operating at a near 30% strike-rate and almost 20 points profit; while William Haggas and John and Thady Gosden also hold strike-rates over 20%.
Ed Walker is another trainer to note at Haydock, while backers of David O’Meara’s runners would yield a small profit despite the trainer’s relatively modest strike-rate. Mark Johnston and Tim Easterby are trainers to avoid at Haydock however.
Over obstacles it can be profitable to side with multiple Betfair Chase winner, Paul Nicholls’ runners over fences; over the past three seasons the Ditcheat trainer boasts a 44% strike-rate from his runners over the larger obstacles although over hurdles he has fared less well. Runners from Richard Hobson, Fergal O’Brien, Venetia Williams and Sue Smith are all worth noting over fences.
Over hurdles Sue Smith again features at the top end of the table with a near 30% strike-rate in recent seasons and a 20 points profit; David Pipe, Jonjo O’Neill and Henry Daly also show profits from their runners over the smaller obstacles in the last three years.
Haydock Leading Jockeys
Cieren Fallon, James Doyle and Jim Crowley are the jockeys to side with on the flat at Haydock; each rider boasting around 20% strike-rates and showing profits from their respective mounts over the past three seasons. William Buick meanwhile has the highest strike-rate amongst jockeys over the same period although backers would be down around a tenner backing Buick’s rides in every race.
Over fences the men to follow over the past three seasons have been Paul O’Brien, Charlie Deutsch, Danny Cook and Tom Scudamore with all four riders turning a profit and a strike-rate more than 20%. Paddy Brennan and Sean Quinlan also return a profit despite each rider having a more modest strike-rate.
Over hurdles Tom O’Brien is the man to follow with a 40% strike-rate and a profit of 23 points; while Fergus Gillard, Richard Patrick and Danny McMenamin also booting home their fair share of winners at a small profit for their backers.
Haydock Track History
Racing at Haydock can be traced back to 1752 in Newton-le-Willows which lies just two miles away from the site of the current racecourse. It wasn’t until 1899 that racing came officially to Haydock Park after the closure of Newton-le-Willows the previous year. The first recognised event at Haydock park took place in February 1899 with a two-day meeting.
Under the stewardship of Sydney Sandon in the early 20th century Haydock Park flourished and much of the course’s redevelopment is credited to him having served as course secretary, chairman and managing director./
Haydock Racecourse Address
The official address of Haydock Park Racecourse is:
Haydock Racecourse Directions
Haydock Park is well-situated close to both Manchester and Liverpool, just one mile from the M6 Motorway at Junction 23. Local signage for the track will steer racegoers to the track where there is ample free parking.
By train: Newton-le-Willows is the nearest train station to Haydock Park and served by services running from Manchester Piccadilly, Victoria and Oxford Road to Liverpool Lime Street.
Travellers on the main London-Glasgow line are served by stops at Warrington Bank Quay and Wigan North Western. Taxis are available from all stations to the racecourse.
By Bus: A bus service operates from Liverpool City Centre to Haydock Park on Saturday racedays. Occasional shuttle buses run from Newton-le-Willows on certain racedays.