Hamilton Park Racecourse is a Flat racing only venue in Hamilton, close to Glasgow. The track is one of only five in Scotland along with Perth, Musselburgh, Kelso and Ayr.
The track is unique at Hamilton and hosts quality Flat racing throughout the spring, summer and early autumn.
- Address – Hamilton Park Racecourse, Bothwell Road, Hamilton, ML3 0DW.
- Owner – Hamilton Park Trust.
- TV Station – Racing TV.
- Type – Mixed.
- Surface – Turf.
Hamilton has a very unique layout. It is classed as a right-handed track, though for longer races the runners backtrack along the straight in the opposite direction to the line.
The course is sharp in nature and undulate throughout. The hollow three furlongs from home is obvious, with a steep downhill run going into it and a particularly stiff uphill run to the line afterwards.
Five and six-furlong races are run on the straight course, while those over a mile a and nine furlongs begin after the first turn on the loop, with fields going right-handed, joining the straight around 5½ furlongs from home.
Races over 1m3f, 1m4f and 1m5f begin at the end of the straight beyond the line, runners going past the stands before turning left-handed to the loop, heading right round the bend and joining the straight heading back for home.
In Hamilton’s longer races it is said by jockeys that they have to get their horses to stay calm early. Those going too fast on the downhill run and/or using up too much energy in the first few furlongs simply won’t get home up the hill.
Though not to a huge extent, balance is required at Hamilton so do look out for horses who’ve handled the bends, hills and undulations of places like Epsom and Chester. Those to have run well at Hamilton in the past are of course favoured.
As less experienced jockeys and horses get going too soon on the downhill run, look for those with proven ability over the trip or even with the stamina to stay further as often they are favoured here.
Visiting Hamilton Park
Hamilton Park is ideally situated if you want to do more than just go to the races.
The track is close to Glasgow, near the towns of Hamilton and Bothwell, is within easy reach of Scotland’s Theme Park and is right near the M74 for ease.
How to Get to Hamilton Park
Hamilton Park is only 15 miles from the centre of Glasgow and 40 miles west of Edinburgh. They can be reached via the M74 and M8 respectively.
Trains are available from Glasgow Central, which is within walking distance of Glasgow Queen Street should you land there, while trains from Edinburgh Waverley can go into there or Motherwell with an onward connection to Hamilton. The station is under two miles from the track.
Free parking available on site for all meetings. From Glasgow, head down the M74, coming off at junction 5 towards Bellshill/Coatbridge. Head for Hamilton, then onto Bothwell Road, the racecourse is signposted.
From then Edinburgh area, head west along the M8 in the direction of Glasgow. Turn off at junction 7 into the Bellshill Bypass, crossing the M74 and following directions to Hamilton Park.
From across the border in England, keep west. From Carlisle, head north up the M6, which becomes the M74 near Gretna. Follow the M74 all the way to junction five onto the Bellshill Bypass, heading for Hamilton and following the signs to the racecourse.
Where to Stay
First and foremost, there is an onsite hotel at Hamilton Park with 118 rooms. There are also various available rooms around Hamilton, Motherwell, East Kilbride and more, all within a few miles of the track.
Glasgow, including the West End, is under half an hour away and there you will find thousands of rooms for all tastes. That’s the best option if you are planning to make a weekend of it either side of the races.
Major Events at Hamilton Park
Hamilton hosts excellent theme evenings and some pretty strong one-off race days, but isn’t known for major festivals.
That said, its better races are renowned and attract support not just from Scottish trainers, but from top handlers as far away as Newmarket and Lambourn.
These are Hamilton’s best races each year:
|Tangerine Trees Stakes||3yo Only, Conditions Stakes, Class 2||5f||May|
|Clyde Handicap||3yo+, Handicap, Class 2||6f||June|
|Scottish Stewards’ Cup||3yo+, Handicap, Class 2||6f||July|
|Glasgow Stakes||3yo Only, Listed Race||1m3f||July|
|Almada Mile||3yo+, Handicap, Class 2||1m½f||July/August|
|Scottish Trophy||3yo+, Handicap, Class 3||1m1f||August|
|Lanark Silver Bell||3yo+, Heritage Handicap, Class 2||1m4f||August|
About Hamilton Park Racecourse
The first official race known to take place in the area was way back in 1782 in Chatelherault, just outside of the Hamilton. That was only the beginning though, and by 1785 the course was hosting three race meets and also put on jumps racing until 1907 when the original racecourse closed.
There was no racing in the area for almost 20 years. After £100,000 was raised however, the sport could begin again on Bothwell Road, where racing now takes place.
The new track opened on Friday, July 16, 1926, staging a two-day meeting in front of well over 60,000 people across the weekend.
Racing was enjoying a real revival in this part of the country. Hamilton was now one of the newest tracks in the country and joined Lanark Racecourse as the second track in Lanarkshire, though that one closed in 1977 and took with it the Lanark Silver Bell, since revived at Hamilton Park.
Hamilton Park made history in 1947 when it became the first racecourse in Britain to hold an evening fixture. With the track maintaining its popularity for the next 30 years, a Trust was formed in 1973 which secured racing at Hamilton Park forever.
The Trust has owned the track since then, with all profits made from racing going back into developing the course and the facilities.
The Lanark Silver Bell
When the Trust restored the Lanark Silver Bell in 2008, they reinvigorated one of the oldest racing trophies in Britain.
The Bell is known to have disappeared for a long time with no explanation, though was found in 1836 in the vaults of Lanark Town Council.
The origins of the Bell are forever in dispute, though some believe it was a gift from King William in 1165. If this particular story is true, it would make it the oldest trophy in the world let alone in Britain.
With its reintroduction to the racing programme, the Lanark Silver Bell was won for the first time in 31 years by the William Haggas team as their Tifernati took the prize, before Mark Johnston took over winning it five times up to 2015.
A new Silver Bell Trophy was unveiled in 2012, though the race continued to rather slip under the radar of the wider UK racing public.
In truth, while the trophies are spectacular, the race itself was a rather common Class 3 handicap. In 2022 however, things changed.
The Lanark Silver Bell is now upgraded to a Class 2 ‘Heritage Handicap’, much like the Ebor, Northumberland Plate, Cambridgeshire etc, and is worth a cool £100,000. This should help it attract much better horses and a wider audience, though it remains to be seen whether its Friday evening slot is what it truly needs.