Although the jumps courses at Exeter and Hexham are higher, at 780 feet above sea level Bath Racecourse is famed for being the highest flat track in Great Britain.
The elevation of the track means that winds, allied with the lack of watering at the venue, lead to very fast ground at Bath which is a feature of the course.
Bath is owned, along with many other venues, by ARC and hosts flat racing only from spring to autumn.
- Address – Bath Racecourse, Lansdown, Bath, BA1 9BU.
- Owner – Arena Racing Company.
- TV Station – Sky Sports Racing.
- Type – Flat.
- Surface – Turf.
Bath is a famous flat racing venue, situated on Lansdown Hill above the city. The unique kidney-shaped track is a fast one, featuring many turns with runners never truly racing in a straight line.
Bath is left-handed and is thought of as a galloping type of track. Races over 5½ furlongs begin in a chute, the field always going slightly left-handed right to the line.
The ‘round’ course is essentially a long oval. It is a mile-and-a-half in length, the run-in after the final turn being a good half-mile long which catches many runners out as they can tend go head for home too soon and run out of steam. There is a long and steady climb to the line.
No irrigation is possible at Bath. While some softer ground appears after inclement weather, Bath is famed for producing good to firm, firm and occasionally even hard going which is very rare in this day and age, even for summer flat racing.
The galloping nature means the draw isn’t too crucial over longer distances, while over the 5½-furlong sprint course the draw bias catches a few out. Despite the log-leg meaning runners are always leaning left, it’s actually the high numbers on the outside that hold sway statistically.
Bath Track Analysis
From a more professional point of view, jockeys to have ridden Bath have agreed with the analysis that some riders and their mounts attempt to get competitive too far from home.
Races here tend to be run at a very honest gallop, leaving many short of energy going up the long straight.
Despite the uphill straight, the sharp final turn still means that a specialist here will have an advantage over the others. Those not to have raced here are often advised, if getting a place on the inner of the field, to huge the rail at the turn for the straight and try to get an advantage at the point some others are beginning to struggle.
A smart front-runner will do OK regardless, but in general you are looking for a horse that does see out every yard of the trip as the stiff finish will sort out the men from the boys over most distances.
Visiting Bath Racecourse
Bath Racecourse is a beautiful place to visit. There are several enclosures to enjoy with ticket prices remaining competitive.
The Premier Enclosure allows access to all public areas of the course as well as the more exclusive Premier Grandstand.
The Grandstand and Paddock Enclosure allows access to the main stand, the parade ring and the winners enclosure too. Not too far from the action, many racegoers choose this option at Bath for value.
There is also a Centre Course Family Enclosure at Bath. This is used mostly as picnic space for families, something that suits the atmosphere here.
How to Get to Bath Racecourse
Bath Racecourse is up on Lansdown Hill, around four-and-a-half miles from Bath up the Lansdown Road. That’s a 15-minute drive from the centre of town.
Those coming from Bristol can use either the M4 or A4, the two routes being 20 miles and 13 miles long respectively, each taking around half an hour by car. Bristol is also the nearest airport, while a train from the city’s Old Market Street station will get racegoers to Oldbury Lane, around a 10-minute walk from the track.
Where to Stay
Both Bath and Bristol have an abundance of available hotel rooms and alternative accommodation, each town being well within reach of the racecourse.
Major Events at Bath
Bath stages around 20 meetings per year. All are competitive, but very few feature pattern races.
Bath’s major races each season are:
|Lansdown Fillies’ Stakes||Fillies & Mares Only, Listed Race||5f||April|
|Beckford Stakes||Fillies & Mares Only, Listed Race||1m6f||October|
About Bath Racecourse
Each year between April and October, Bath is handed around 20 race meetings on the flat and all are popular with trainers and jockeys. Other live events take place at the venue too.
Bath is owned by ARC, Arena Racing Company, one of the largest racecourse ownership companies in the country. Under their ownership, Bath has gone through various upgrading programmes down the years including 2016’s redevelopment.
The latest upgrade meant modern facilities being offered at Bath, though none of the old character of the place was lost. These days, the venue is equipped not just for quality flat racing but also many other events such as conferences and weddings.
History of Bath Racecourse
There has been racing of one kind or another at Bath since 1728. Back in 1811 however, the first proper organised meeting was recorded at Bath Racecourse.
Initially just the one meeting each year took place at the track, being staged over two days. Later, this developed to incorporate more and more summer race days until eventually the track reached a height of 22 meetings a season.
In the 1800’s, the major race here was the Somerset Stakes, a race that has carried on although doesn’t carry the same prestige.
As well as using the grandstands, racegoers in the early years watched the events from their own carriages, lined up alongside the track.
The track was used by the RAF during World War II, a common occurrence for Britain’s race tracks during this time.
In 1953, Bath was the location for a criminal racing plot during the Spa Selling Plate. Two identical-looking horses, one good and one very poor, were swapped to affect the result!
After ARC took over ownership, money has been put into Bath to modernise the facilities though its uniqueness, including its lack of watering facilities leading to fast ground, remains.