Exeter Racecourse is situated high up on the Haldon Hills near the Haldon Forest. It is some seven miles from the centre of Exeter itself. However, this National Hunt venue remains one of the most popular on the whole racing circuit. That goes for trainers, jockeys, and punters alike.
Exeter Racecourse was initially seen as a popular summer jumping track. However, the quality of runners has risen steadily here over the years. Now, the venue stages its meetings within the traditional National Hunt season from October through to April or May.
Exeter Racecourse’s seasonal highlight is the Grade II Haldon Gold Cup. This is an important race on the calendar. It was won in the past by such eminent horses as Viking Flagship, Edredon Bleu, Azertyuiop, and Best Mate.
Indeed, there is a statue of Best Mate at Exeter Racecourse Racecourse. That’s in memory of the great three-time Cheltenham Gold Cup winner who died at this track back in 2005.
Performance at Exeter Racecourse
This venue is a very popular stop-off for champion jockey Richard Johnson. Johnson sits at the top of the leader board here over the past five years with approaching 40 wins. However, having done this from nearly 200 rides, he is standing at a big loss in terms of £1 level stake bets. Therefore, maybe it’s best to avoid his mounts as they are often underpriced!
Other top trainers and jockeys to have claimed strike-rates at well above 20% around Exeter Racecourse though are Sam Twiston-Davies, Noel Fehily, Philip Hobbs, Paul Nicholls, Harry Fry, and Evan Williams. Whereas, Colin Tizzard is a standing dish here, training just 60 miles away in Dorset.
Exeter Racecourse Track Details
Generally speaking, Exeter Racecourse is a very hilly course. Also, it is galloping in nature, often described as the fairest National Hunt track in the country.
Underfoot conditions around here can become extremely demanding in wintertime but are completely the opposite when things are drier. The elevation of the course renders it without a watering system. Hence, it’s much like Bath on the flat, which famously has the same problem.
A long, two-mile undulating right-handed circuit, the hurdles track at Exeter Racecourse features seven flights of hurdles per circuit in all. That is three up the straight, one on the bend, and three more down the back.
The half-mile-long home straight is uphill all the way to the line making finishes very tough. That’s especially true in testing conditions during midwinter which is when stamina truly comes to the fore.
Jockeys love Exeter Racecourse. For starters, topographically it is one of the best in the country without a doubt. It’s also particularly good for novice chasers. So, look out for top trainers sending some fine new talent there.
The fences remain fair but the track itself is a big test for horses, especially given the nature of the uphill finish up the long home straight.
The circuit is right-handed, fairly undulating, and a full two miles in length. It features no less than 11 fences on one lap of the track:
- three plain fences and an open ditch down the back
- four plain fences up the testing straight
- a water jump just after the line before a plain fence
- an open ditch on the turn to the back
This is a track that, whether over hurdles or fences, you’ll be looking for a galloper and one who can truly see out the relevant trip. When the ground is soft at Exeter Racecourse you will need a horse that sees out every inch of the distance, which is possibly why so many Haldon Gold Cup winners have gone on to also do well at Cheltenham.
Biggest Events at Exeter Racecourse
Exeter Racecourse’s fixtures are all very popular with the main highlights being Superhero Family Raceday in March, the Season Opener in October, Festive Raceday and Christmas Raceday in December. And, of course, the highlight is Haldon Gold Cup day in early October featuring the track’s biggest race: Grade II Chase, 2m1½f, November.
Admission Prices at Exeter Racecourse
Among the cheapest meetings is Superhero Family Raceday which costs just £7.50 for the Grandstand and Paddock or £19 in the Haldon Premier Stand. Alternatively, other meetings in these areas are charged at £10 and £19, respectively, with accompanied under-18s going free. There are also lots of hospitality and restaurant packages on offer.
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