Although closed for some time, since 2016 we have had the pleasure of seeing racing at Hereford Racecourse once again, a National Hunt venue in the west of England.
Although owned by Herefordshire Council, the track is operated by Arena Racing Company.
- Address – Hereford Racecourse, Roman Road, Hereford, HR4 9QU.
- Owner – Herefordshire Council.
- TV Station – Sky Sports Racing.
- Type – National Hunt.
- Surface – Turf.
The jumps track at Hereford is right-handed, about a mile and a half around in total. It is formed almost in a square shape with nine fences to be tackled on each circuit, the one just after the winning line being taken on the turn.
Though the other bends are simple enough for runners, the one leading the field into the straight is sharp and comes on a downhill stretch, making things quite difficult for the horses.
Races here are usually strongly run, though you will stamina as the ground can become testing over the winter months during the peak National Hunt season.
Thankfully, nothing appears to have changed for the worse at Hereford according to jockeys after it was closed for four years, reopening in 2016.
Riders describe Hereford as fair, but in both hurdle and chase races a strong traveller is often needed as when they hit the downhill run, those at the front can begin to get away from the field as they head to the straight.
The last fence is usually the most difficult, with the track widening after which sometimes takes a horse’s attention away and makes them wander somewhat.
The run-in after the final fence is a short one, though somehow it often seems as though closers have plenty of time to sort themselves out and make a challenge, adding weight to the riders’ claims that Hereford is generally pretty fair for all.
Visiting Hereford Racecourse
Hereford Racecourse is situated in one of the nicest Cathedral Cities, making it part of a great experience either side of going to the races.
There is a typical rural welcome on offer for racegoers here and that is one of the main reasons to make a special trip to Hereford.
As a jumps racing venue, fixtures at Hereford are usually held between October and April each year, with plenty of racing action offered during those months.
How to Get to Hereford Racecourse
The main thing to remember is that getting to Hereford Racecourse from the north or the south is via the A49. If you are heading in from the Worcester area, use the A4103.
The track is only two miles outside of Hereford’s city centre, with the train station being well within reach either on foot or by car/taxi. Those coming in via train then will find reaching the track very easy.
The closest motorway is the M50, around half an hour away from the track using either junction 2 or 3 depending on what route you prefer.
Hereford Racecourse sits near the A4103, near the A49. Locals know the Starting Gate roundabout very well and you can use that as a guide, the roundabout being less than a quarter of a mile from the racecourse entrance.
The rail network serving Hereford is a good one, with easy connections from Birmingham, Cardiff, London, Manchester and others. You can walk from the station in half an hour, take a taxi from there and reach the course in under ten minutes, or take the 72B bus.
Once you’re on site, car parking is free of charge and there is plenty of it available at every meeting.
Where to Stay
You won’t have to travel far to get to Hereford races. The city of Hereford itself has ample hotel rooms, B&B’s and rental properties. Though demand for these is busy in the summer, you should find lots of availability during the jumps racing season.
There is a hotel just a five-minute walk from the track in fact, with others very close by and accessible via taxi.
Hereford Racecourse Fixtures
|Saturday||16th Dec 2023||Afternoon||Jump / Turf|
About Hereford Racecourse
Hereford is known for the unique shape of its track; an almost square shape.
The first known race meeting recorded at Hereford took place back in August of 1771, though major redevelopments have taken place since then including in 1966 when their first photo-finish camera was installed for greater accuracy.
Though popular for decades, especially with locals, Hereford Racecourse was forced to close in December 2012. Arena Racing Company (ARC) stopped operations there after they could not agree a new lease with Herefordshire Council.
When the final runners crossed the line on December 16, 2012, it ended 240 years of continuous racing at this track, at least for thoroughbreds, though some Arabian racing continued which meant the course and the facilities were largely maintained. The track was also used for point-to-point racing in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
After a new lease agreement was reached, Hereford Racecourse reopened for action on October 6, 2016. Three more fixtures were also scheduled. 4500 people turned up for the first meeting.
By 2017 Hereford was up to eleven jumps meetings which were staged January to March and October to December. Though the track was on the rise, there was a bump in the road when the Ledbury point-to-points in the spring and two National Hunt meetings in the autumn were moved to due unsafe, hard ground.
In 2018, Hereford was given another 11 days of racing with an extra day added in April owing to cancellations elsewhere around the country.
In August of that year construction began of a reservoir in the centre of the course. This means that, after passed cancellations owing to dry weather, the course can be watered without a reliance on what before was a limited supply from a shared borehole.
Fixtures are now steady at Hereford and the track remains popular with jumps trainers, especially for the purposes of sending novices to race. It is very much hoped that, with watering possible, fixtures can grow here to at least pre-closure levels in the near future.