Haydock Course Guide

Situated on Merseyside halfway between Liverpool and Manchester, Haydock Park is one of the most popular courses in the country in terms of attendance. Although the turns are tight, the long steady straights mean that the course is considered one of the fairest in the country.

On the flat the highlight is the Haydock Sprint Cup, a Group 1 sprint over six furlongs that is run in early September. Other important flat races staged earlier in the summer include the Temple Stakes, Lancashire Oaks and the Rose of Lancaster Stakes.

The course also hosts high-quality National Hunt racing over the winter, when the jewel in the crown is the Grade 1 Betfair Chase run over three miles in November. The race often serves as the first clash between the established top chasers and younger horses in their second season over fences; its status is underlined by a roll of honour that includes Kauto Star, Imperial Commander, Cue Card and Silviniaco Conti.

Haydock Flat RacingTimeform

Left handed, flat. Oval-shaped, about thirteen furlongs round, with a run-in of four and a half furlongs which rises throughout. Runners in races of seven furlongs and further tend to stick towards the far rail in the straight, though often switch nearer the stand side when the ground is testing. A good position when turning in is often important regardless of the ground. Sprints take place on the straight six-furlong course, with runners usually racing down the centre of the track. Good or firmer conditions tend to place the emphasis on speed, with those ridden prominently favoured.

Haydock is a lovely galloping track and on fast ground, despite the long straight, you can get away from your field and prove very hard to peg back. It’s completely different when conditions are softer, though, requiring more patient tactics. In distance races, there’s an advantage to be had in the back straight by switching sides as the course turns. There used to be a huge bias in favour of the stands’ rail in soft ground and, while it’s less pronounced these days, I’m still a believer in taking that route.

View from the saddle: Jason WeaverJason Weaver
Haydock Jumps RacingTimeform

Left handed, flat. Conditions are often gruelling during winter, placing emphasis on stamina. Conversely, conditions at the Swinton Meeting in May usually place the emphasis on speed, with a tendency to favour those ridden prominently as a result. Formerly held an undeserved reputation as one of the hardest courses to jump around, something not backed up by statistics, and more recent evidence suggests its portable fences provide little in the way of a jumping test. Since the 2013/14 season chases have been run on the outer Flat course rather than on their traditional track.

It’s a very different course since they changed the configuration. They’ve made it a lot easier, nothing like as testing, except when the ground is soft. It’s certainly not as stiff as it used to be, but it’s still tough for a novice, because the fences perhaps don’t ride quite as well as they used to. On the whole, however, it’s a very fair course, and a good test, though when the ground’s quick it can feel a bit like a go-kart track. Times on a firm surface can be very fast.

View from the saddle: Mick FitzgeraldMick Fitzgerald

Advance Going

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Address & Contact

Haydock Park Racecourse
Newton-le-Willows
Merseyside
WA12 0HQ
01942 725963

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