Bath Racecourse

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Bath
Bath Racecourse logo (new).png
Bath Racecourse logo
Location Bath, Somerset
Owned by Arena Racing Company
Screened on At The Races
Course type Flat
Official website
The stands

Bath Racecourse is a thoroughbred horse racing venue located on Lansdown Hill, about 3 14 miles (5.2 km) northeast of Bath, Somerset, England. It is owned and operated by Arena Racing Company.

The racecourse is a left-handed oval track of 1 mile 4 furlongs and 25 yards, with a run-in of nearly half-a-mile.[1]

At 780 feet (238 m) above sea level, Bath is Britain's highest flat racecourse, although National Hunt courses Hexham and Exeter are higher.[2]

History[edit]

Racing was first recorded at Bath in 1728.[3] In 1811, the first major meet at Bath Racecourse was held, under the auspices of a local family, the Blathwayts. Originally there was just one meet a year at the course, lasting for two days, but gradually over the years, the number of meets increased to its present level of twenty-two. In the early years, the Somerset Stakes was the major race of the calendar, and this race is still held annually. There were a number of grandstand buildings in those days and people used to watch the races from their carriages, lined up beside the track.[4]

During World War II, the racecourse was used as a landing field by the Royal Air Force and named RAF North Stoke.[5]

In 1953, Bath Racecourse was the site of a criminal plot surrounding the "Spa selling plate". Having two horses that looked almost identical, the gang substituted a good horse for a poor one. They bet heavily on the substituted horse and damaged the power supply to the racecourse, which prevented the bookmakers from changing the odds which remained at 10-1. The horse won the race and the gang would have profited highly had not racing officials become suspicious and called in Scotland Yard. The gang were subsequently brought to justice.[6]

In 2015/16 the racecourse facilities underwent a significant redevelopment and investment programme, funded by the Arena Racing Company. The racetrack has a new look with bands of buttermilk and French grey, the parade ring is revamped and the Beckford Bar opened. The new Langridge Grandstand opened in July 2016 and has various new facilities including a canopied roof garden from which races can be watched. It is also available as a venue between race days for corporate events, dinners and weddings.[4]

Notable races[edit]

Month DOW Race Name Type Grade Distance Age/Sex
April Saturday Lansdown Fillies' Stakes Flat Listed 5f 11y 3 & 4yo f
October Wednesday Beckford Stakes Flat Listed 1m 6f 3+ f

References[edit]

  1. ^ British Racing and Racecourses (ISBN 978-0-9501397-2-2) by Marion Rose Halpenny - Page 77
  2. ^ "Bath". At the races. Archived from the original on 2011-07-07. Retrieved 2008-09-14. 
  3. ^ Mortimer, Roger; Onslow, Richard; Willett, Peter (1978). Biographical Encyclopaedia of British Racing. London: Macdonald and Jane's. ISBN 0-354-08536-0. 
  4. ^ a b "About Bath Racecourse". Bath Racecourse. Retrieved 30 August 2016. 
  5. ^ Berryman, David (2006). Somerset airfields in the Second World War. Newbury: Countryside Books. pp. 124–126. ISBN 1-85306-864-0. 
  6. ^ Andrew Ward (2015). Horse-Racing Strangest Races: Extraordinary but true stories from over 150 years of racing. Pavilion Books. pp. 123–126. ISBN 978-1-910232-32-3. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°25′06″N 2°24′34″W / 51.41833°N 2.40944°W / 51.41833; -2.40944