Haydock Park is one of the top dual-purpose racetracks in the country, hosting top-level action both on the Flat and over the jumps.
The current course was opened in 1899. It has proven to be incredibly popular with racegoers, earning the Racecourse of the Year title in both 1998 and 2000.
35 of Britain’s Group 1 races are hosted at Ascot, Doncaster, Epsom, Goodwood, Newbury, Newmarket, Sandown and York with just one elsewhere – here at Haydock Park (Sprint Cup).
- Address – Haydock Park Racecourse, Newton-le-Willows, Merseyside, WA12 0HQ.
- Owner – The Jockey Club.
- TV Station – Racing TV.
- Type – Flat and National Hunt.
- Surface – Turf.
Haydock is left-handed and noted for being flat and fair. There are still a number of things to note about the track from a punting point of view of course.
The oval is around one mile, five furlongs in length. The run-in up the straight from the final bend is a full four-and-a-half furlongs, slightly rising to the line.
Five and six-furlong races are run on the straight track, while low draw numbers are favoured over the seven as the runners tend to stick to the far side and hug the rail. This changes slightly when the going is soft, when runners migrate towards the stands side for better ground.
The ground is all-important when it comes to tactics at Haydock, and is something punters really need to keep in mind.
Despite looking completely flat, Haydock is very hard to get on soft ground. Over longer distances, you really need a horse that handles wet conditions and really sees out the entire trip, if not longer.
Even in sprints, softer ground means hold-up horses and/or those on the stands side rail can be favoured, whereas on fast ground the track suits front-runners and those racing prominently.
Haydock Flat Track Analysis
Feedback from Haydock is that the track is seen as very galloping and fast ground, suiting those racing from the front. Jockeys clever enough to lead then slow the pace down can really steal a march on their field on better ground, despite the long home straight.
Jockeys report that the picture changes however when the ground gets soft, which is something we’ve noted from race results.
There is still a penchant for jockeys to hug the rail around the bend on soft and heavy ground before moving across to the near side up the straight, though many now say that bias is not as pronounced as it once was.
The jumps course is of course left-handed and mostly flat. The pattern follows the Flat track, with most jump races being very testing here on soft ground in the winter months, though for the famous Swinton Hurdle in May it tends to be about speed.
The fences are portable and tend to be very easy, at least these days, though in the past the jumps track at Haydock had somewhat of a fearful reputation.
Jumps Track Analysis
The configuration was changed around Haydock in 2013/14 and since then, jockeys have reported the track to be now very different from in the past. Riders confirm that it is now a lot easier, though when the ground is soft it remains very testing indeed.
The fences aren’t as tough as they used to be according to jockeys, though on softer ground it still takes a good jumper, especially in novice races, to clear them while conserving energy for what is a tough finish.
Haydock has to be ridden differently according to ground conditions but overall, it is still regarded as being very fair.
Visiting Haydock Park
Though historically within the boundaries of Lancashire, Haydock Park Racecourse is now in Merseyside, almost straddling Greater Manchester with Wigan very nearby.
The course is within the parkland surrounded by Ashton-in-Makerfield in the north, Golborne in the east, Newton-le-Willows in the south and Haydock in the west.
Although situated within said parkland, Haydock is very near many densely-populated areas and as such draws in some pretty big crowds. Haydock Park is near equidistant between Liverpool and Manchester.
How to Get to Haydock
Haydock Park is handily placed, just a mile from the M6.
From the Liverpool area, head east on the A5058 and the A580 East Lancashire Road for around 18 miles to the M6, Haydock Park is on the other side of the motorway.
From Manchester, take the M62 westbound to junction 10, joining the M6 north for junction 23. From there, the track is just a mile away. From further north in Lancashire; Preston, Lancaster etc, take the M6 south to junction 23.
From Chester, use the M56 heading north to junction 9, then onto the M6 north. Warrington is also a mere eight miles away using the A49 and/or the M6.
The nearest train station is just south of the track at Newton-le-Willows. The station sees arrivals from Chester, Crewe, Holyhead, Leeds, Liverpool Lime Street, Manchester Airport and Newcastle. The train station is a near three-mile taxi ride away to the track entrance.
Where to Stay
There are a number of hotel rooms available specifically in the Haydock area, while all of the above-mentioned towns are within easy reach too.
Haydock Racecourse Fixtures
|Wednesday||6th Dec 2023||Afternoon||Jump / Turf|
|Saturday||23rd Dec 2023||Afternoon||Jump / Turf|
|Saturday||30th Dec 2023||Afternoon||Jump / Turf|
Major Events at Haydock Park
Haydock is a wonderful dual-purpose track. It features grades jumps races, top handicaps and Pattern races on the Flat, staging events all year round.
Haydock’s major yearly events are:
Major Jumps Races
|Newton Novices’ Hurdle||Novices’ Hurdle, 4yo+, Listed Race||1m7½f||Betfair Chase Day||November|
|Graduation Chase||Novices’ Chase, 4yo+, Class 2||2m5½f||Betfair Chase Day||November|
|Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle||Handicap Hurdle, Grade 3||3m½f||Betfair Chase Day||November|
|Betfair Chase||Chase, Grade 1||3m1½f||Betfair Chase Day||November|
|Abram Hurdle||Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle, Listed Race||2m3f||Tommy Whittle Chase Day||December|
|Tommy Whittle Chase||Handicap Chase, Class 2||3m1½f||Tommy Whittle Chase Day||December|
|Altcar Novices’ Chase||Novices’ Chase, Grade 2||2m4f||Peter Marsh Chase Day||January|
|Rossington Main Novices’ Hurdle||Novices’ Hurdle, Grade 2||1m7½f||Peter Marsh Chase Day||January|
|Champion Hurdle Trial||Hurdle, Grade 2||1m7½f||Peter Marsh Chase Day||January|
|Peter Marsh Chase||Limited Handicap Chase, Grade 2||3m1½f||Peter Marsh Chase Day||January|
|Rendlesham Hurdle||Hurdle, Grade 2||3m½f||Rendlesham Hurdle Day||February|
|Grand National Trial||Handicap Chase, Grade 3||3m4½f||Rendlesham Hurdle Day||February|
|Prestige Novices’ Hurdle||Novices’ Hurdle, Grade 2||3m½f||Rendlesham Hurdle Day||February|
|Swinton Hurdle||Handicap Hurdle, Grade 3||1m7½f||Swinton Hurdle Day||May|
Major Flat Races
|Spring Trophy||3yo+, Listed Race||7f||Swinton Hurdle Day||May|
|Cecil Frail Stakes||3yo Fillies & Mares, Listed Race||6f||Afternoon Racing||May|
|Silver Bowl||Handicap, 3yo Only, Class 2||1m||Temple Stakes Day||May|
|Sandy Lane Stakes||3yo Only, Group 2||6f||Temple Stakes Day||May|
|Temple Stakes||3yo+, Group 2||5f||Temple Stakes Day||May|
|Achilles Stakes||3yo+, Listed Race||5f||Summer Social||May|
|Pinnacle Stakes||4yo+ Fillies & Mares, Group 3||1m4f||Summer Social||May|
|John of Gaunt Stakes||4yo+, Group 3||7f||Summer Social||May|
|Handicap||Handicap, 3yo Only, Class 2||1m6f||Old Newton Cup Festival||July|
|Lancashire Oaks||3yo+ Fillies & Mares, Group 2||1m4f||Old Newton Cup Festival||July|
|Old Newton Cup||Handicap, Class 2||1m4f||Old Newton Cup Festival||July|
|Dick Hern Stakes||3yo+ Fillies & Mares, Listed Race||1m||Rose of Lancaster Carnival||August|
|Rose of Lancaster Stakes||3yo+, Group 3||1m2½f||Rose of Lancaster Carnival||August|
|Ascendant Stakes||2yo Only, Listed Race||1m||Sprint Cup Celebration||September|
|Superior Mile||3yo+, Group 3||1m||Sprint Cup Celebration||September|
|Handicap||Handicap, 3yo Only, Class 2||1m6f||Sprint Cup Celebration||September|
|Old Borough Cup||Handicap, Class 2||1m6f||Sprint Cup Celebration||September|
|Sprint Cup||3yo+, Group 1||6f||Sprint Cup Celebration||September|
About Haydock Racecourse
Lancastrians and horses have always been hand-in-hand. A number of race meetings in fact were held at Newton-le-Willows as far back as 1752. The Newton meetings went ahead right until 1898, save for a break in the 1820’s or thereabouts.
The Newton meetings were back then held on a stretch of the common known as Golborne Heath. They took on a similar shape to many other meets around the country at the time and were nothing like the organised public race meetings we see today.
Racing continued to grow and eventually moved to what we now know as Haydock Park, set among beautiful natural scenery despite its proximity to major industrial centres such as Liverpool and Manchester from where it gets many of its visitors.
Haydock these days is one of the busiest tracks in the country, hosting National Hunt and Flat meetings year round with over 30 days of racing held.
While many ‘modern’ races have been added, with Group 1 and Grade 1 races run here, the Old Newton Cup is the last link between the age-old meetings of the 1800’s and those staged at the newer course. It remains one of the biggest betting heats of the year.
Nowadays Haydock Park is owned by The Jockey Club along with such prestigious tracks as Newmarket. It is important nationally, but is also seen as a shining light specifically within northern racing featuring the Grand National Trial and the Group 1 Sprint Cup for the speedsters on the Flat.
There are four different grandstands at Haydock now and 33 private restaurants, viewing suites, bars and conference areas.
Though Doncaster hosts two Group 1’s and there is another cluster across at York, Haydock’s own Group 1 is hugely important for the north given that the majority of such events are hosted in the south at Ascot, Newmarket, Newbury, Epsom and Sandown.