Leicester Course Guide

Located at Oadby, to the south-east of the city, Leicester is a dual-purpose course which stages competitive action all year round.

On the Flat the highlight is the King Richard III Stakes, run in late April over seven furlongs and open to four-year-olds and upwards who have not won a Group 1 or Group 2 Pattern race for two years previously. However, with hindsight Leicester’s maiden races often offer the best opportunity to see a top-class horse in action as the track is particularly popular with Newmarket and Yorkshire-based trainers.

The highlight of Leicester’s jumping calendar is the Leicestershire Silver Fox Handicap Chase. Ran over and extended two miles and four furlongs every December. The East Midlands track also stages several Hunter Chases that are well-contested in the spring, highlighted by the exploits of the Venetia Williams-trained Teeton Mill, who won a hunter in 1998 before progressing to Hennessy Gold Cup and King George VI Chase glory.

Timeform

The round course is a right-handed, oval track, about a mile and three quarters in extent, with a run-in of four and a half furlongs. The straight course, on which all races of up to seven furlongs are run, is mainly downhill to halfway, then rises gradually for over two furlongs, finishing on the level. The track is galloping, and for two-year-olds early in the season it poses a test of stamina.


I’ve no idea why so many jockeys shy away from the stands’ side rail on Leicester’s straight track when the ground is soft, because it’s been a huge advantage for years and all too often I seem to see a 20-1 shot win from there as if it’s racing on a surface like the M25. Generally, it’s a nice galloping track, but, when there’s been a lot of rain, it can get very sticky in the home straight. Whatever the conditions, though, you don’t want to be on keen horses at Leicester. They’ll hardly ever last home.

View from the saddle: Jason Weaver
Timeform

Right handed, rather undulating with a gradual uphill finish of around three furlongs. Hurdle races run on Flat course and usually more testing as a result, that track having been watered during the summer, though races are often steadily run, resulting in the field still being well bunched early in the straight. A higher percentage of casualties over fences suggests obstacles are stiffer than used to be the case. There tends to be an advantage in taking a wide route on the hurdles course when the going is testing.


They’ve made the fences at Leicester slightly easier over the past few years but, when I was riding, I always thought it was one of the biggest jumping tracks around. You still need a good horse to win there, though, because some of the obstacles can still be a little bit tricky, including the second fence in the back straight. The hurdles course can get extremely testing when the ground is winter-soft, partly because of watering on the Flat track during the summer, while the chase course often rides slightly quicker.

View from the saddle: Mick Fitzgerald
Advance Going
Hurdle: heavy; chase: good to soft-soft in places
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Last Update: 12/11/2019 17:00x

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Address & Contact

Leicester Racecourse Co Ltd
Oadby
Leicester
LE2 4AL
0116 2716515
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