its early years, Ayr Racecourse was located in the Seafield area of
Ayr, South Ayrshire, Scotland. Due to lack of room for expansion, it
moved to its current site, at Whitletts Road, in the Craigie area of
the town, in 1907. 1950 was a significant date in the history of the
course. The addition of the National Hunt course meant that racing
at Ayr was possible throughout the year for the first time. Ayr
Racecourse was the major beneficiary of the closure of Bogside
Racecourse in 1965. The demise of Bogside saw the Scottish Grand
National transferred to Ayr for the 1966 renewal, increasing the
prestige of Ayr as a venue for National Hunt racing.
The Ayr course is left-handed, meaning that horses race in a
clockwise direction. It is oval in shape, with a circumference of
about 1 mile 5 furlongs. It is known as a "galloping" course, best
suited to longer-striding horses. The course is also quite "stiff,"
presenting a thorough test of stamina, especially when the going
rides on the soft side, which is often the case. There is a straight
6 furlong flat course.
Ayr is the only Grade 1 course in Scotland and is acknowledged as
the leading Scottish racecourse. It stages up to 30 race meetings
per year, including both Flat and National Hunt fixtures, some of
which feature the most important races run in Scotland under both
codes. The racecourse has enjoyed multi-million pound investment in
recent years, with significant improvements being made to facilities
How to get there
On the west coast of Scotland, Ayr Racecourse is easily accessible,
with excellent road and public transport links
Race goers travelling to Ayr by road should travel via the A77 from
Glasgow or take the A70, A75 or A76 from the east. The M6 motorway
connects to these routes from both north and south.
Ayr railway station is within comfortable walking distance of the
racecourse, although a frequent bus service operates between the two
before and after racing.
Glasgow Airport is 30 miles from Ayr Racecourse, with Prestwick
Airport just 3 miles away.
A "Seacat" service operates between Belfast and Troon, which is
about 8 miles from the racecourse.
The highlights of the racing calendar at Ayr are the 2-day Scottish
Grand National meeting in April and the 3-day Western Meeting in
Along with the valuable centrepiece, run over an extended 4 miles,
the former also includes the 2-mile Scottish Champion Hurdle, which
perhaps suffers in quality, due to its proximity to the Cheltenham
Festival and the 2½-mile Future Champion Novices` `Chase, which has
thrown up several subsequent winners of prestigious races.
The Western Meeting features the Ayr Gold Cup, run over 6 furlongs
and the most valuable sprint handicap in Europe. With a maximum of
27 runners, it is invariably hotly-contested and extremely popular
with the betting public. On the same afternoon, two year old fillies
contest the Group 3 Firth of Clyde Stakes, also over 6f. As of 2012,
it is the only Group race run in Scotland.
An enjoyable day at Ayr races can be all the more pleasurable
www.freeracingtips.co.uk pointing the way to a few winners.
See also the
history or Horse Racing in Ayr.