Ayr Racecourse

Over 30 fixtures a year are held at Ayr Racecourse, a dual-purpose track hosting both flat and jumps races to a high standard.

Among the most northerly tracks in the whole of the UK, Ayr is one of just five racecourses in Scotland alongside Hamilton, Musselburgh, Kelso and Perth although this one is very much known as Scotland’s premier racecourse and with good reason.

The selection offered here is both high-class and disparate. Races range from the 4-mile Scottish Grand National over the jumps in April to the all-out six-furlong sprint on the flat in September that is the Ayr Gold Cup.

In fact, the Ayr Gold Cup meeting as an unofficial public holiday in Ayrshire and is extremely well attended. The Ayr Gold Cup itself is now the richest handicap sprint in Europe in fact and is so oversubscribed every year that two different consolation races have to be run for those unable to get in; the Ayr Silver Cup and the Ayr Bronze Cup.

During it’s more standard and unremarkable meetings Ayr is supported by trainers and jockeys mostly based in Scotland and the north of England, however, during the year’s two big festivals horsemen from all around the country arrive on the west coast of Scotland in their droves to take part in what are some of Britain’s iconic race meetings.

Ticket Prices at Ayr Racecourse

For standard, non-hospitality tickets at Ayr prices generally range from just £24 in the Grandstand to £33 in the Club area. Be advised though, that these can change depending on the meeting and will be announced by the racecourse.

Track Details

Ayr’s official history goes all the way back to 1771 with the Western Meeting being established in 1824. Since then plenty of top races have been run and lots of changes have been made, but the Ayr Racecourse we know and love today is a permanent fixture on the northern racing calendar.

Flat Course

Ayr is a left-handed, mile-and-a-half oval with plenty of undulations on the backstretch, albeit gentle ones. It is galloping in nature and therefore often favours those up with the pace on the round course, but over the straight course for races such as the Ayr Gold Cup, runners begin downhill before rising from the dip and facing a two-furlong uphill climb before reaching the line meaning many succumb to late challengers.

Races are run on the flat here over anything from five furlongs to 2¼ miles and overall the landscape is considered fair for all.

National Hunt Course

Once again left-handed and a mile-and-a-half in length, the jumps course features standard hurdles and fences with the slight undulations not particularly posing problems. With this in mind, the galloping nature of the track means those allowed to bowl along in front often see their races out and so it is usually not recommended being too far back in the pack.

Hurdle races are staged over distances between 2m1f and 3m3½f while chases are run between 2m and an extended four miles, but only for the Scottish National.

Ayr’s Biggest Races

While more than 30 fixtures can be accommodated at Ayr across twelve months of the year and over both codes, it is, without doubt, the Scottish Grand National meeting in April and the Ayr Gold Cup meeting in September that remain the highlights of the racing season here.

The National meeting takes place just 1-2 weeks after the Grand National at Aintree. It often features well-fancied horses from that race who perhaps fell early in the contest, as well as those horses specifically aimed at this event.

The Ayr Gold Cup meeting is essentially holiday time in Ayrshire and is a huge spectator event featuring a few Listed races and one Group event alongside the competitive sprints.

These races are the best on offer:

  • Scottish Grand National – Grade 3 Handicap Chase, 4m, April
  • Future Champions Novices’ Chase – Grade 2 Chase, 2m4f, April
  • Scottish Champion Hurdle – Grade 2 Handicap Hurdle, 2m, April
  • Doonside Cup – Listed Race, 1m2f, September
  • Scottish Fillies’ Sprint Stakes – Listed Race, Fillies & Mares, 5½f, September
  • Firth of Clyde Stakes – Group 3, 2yo Fillies, 6f, September
  • Ayr Gold Cup – Class 2 Handicap, 6f, September

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