Uttoxeter Racecourse, located in Staffordshire, is a hugely popular jumps racing venue.
The track hosts meetings all through the year, with a major highlight programmed in for both spring and summer. In March, the famous Midlands Grand National takes place here while in June, Uttoxeter is the venue for the famed Summer Cup.
The Midlands Grand National in fact has been on the calendar since 1969 and has been the making of this racecourse.
As a four-mile race run in March, it can be considered to be a key trial for the Grand National at Aintree, though retains a status as a valuable and important race in its own right.
So popular is Uttoxeter’s big event that many are scrambling to “save” it from the grasp of Cheltenham. Should the Cheltenham Festival run into a fifth day, it would encroach on Midlands National Day which to some is racing sacrilege.
- Address – Uttoxeter Racecourse, Wood Lane, Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, ST14 8BD.
- Owner – Arena Racing Company.
- TV Station – Sky Sports Racing.
- Type – National Hunt.
- Surface – Turf.
The track here is left-handed and primarily sharp. Despite being this way, it is known for being particularly testing in the winter months so always keep onside those horses you know can see out the advertised trip and more.
Its sharp nature however can mean that when the ground is quick, it pays to play on speed and race at the front end.
The fences here aren’t known to be too demanding, and in fact on the hurdles course one flight has been removed meaning there are just nine to jump per circuit rather than ten.
Hurdlers may still need a touch of stamina here, even on good ground, but races over 2m – 2m2f over fences will definitely favour speed when the going isn’t gruelling.
The track has a chute for two-mile hurdles starts, a long straight and somewhat of an ‘S’ configuration round the back. This leads to jockeys needing to actually go a tad wide off the bend after the winning line in order to get the inside line into the next turn.
Jockey feedback is indeed that Uttoxeter rides quick. With that being the case, you’re looking for tactical speed, meaning horses can cruise up nicely and don’t have to be rowed along. Those to have won on other quick tracks, or shown solid speed figures, may be favoured.
Riders report that if you have come off the bridle with a circuit to go, it’s almost certain that you are not going to win at Uttoxeter.
Visiting Uttoxeter Racecourse
Uttoxeter has plenty of boxes and private suites, great food and drink outlets and other amenities to keep racegoers interested.
How to Get to Uttoxeter
Driving from the north west towards Uttoxeter Racecourse, visitors should use the M6 as far as junction 15. From there, follow signs for the A50 Uttoxeter and Derby and then the course will be signposted.
From the north east of the track, use M1 to junction 24A, onto the A50 following the same signs.
From the south and south west, drivers can come from the M5, junction 4a or the M40, junction 3a onto the M42 at junction 7. Exit the M42 at junction 9 for Lichfield and then follow signs for Lichfield and the A38 to Burton and Derby. Exit at the A50 for Uttoxeter and Stoke.
Those coming from the south east can take the M1 to junction 23a. Move onto the A50 at Uttoxeter and Stoke and then once in the town, follow sings to Wood Lane where the racecourse is situated.
Those using taxis to come from surrounding areas may use the drop-off area at the main gate at Wood Lane.
Luckily for racegoers, Uttoxeter Station is right next to the racecourse. The Intercity services run from both Derby and Stoke on Trent, with connecting trains to Uttoxeter. There is also a direct service arriving from Crewe.
Where to Stay
Uttoxeter is not a remote racecourse, so there are numerous places to stay.
The track is less than a mile from the centre of Uttoxeter, but is also within easy reach of more major towns and cities with an abundance of hotel rooms.
Burton-on-Trent is just 13 miles away, Stoke-on-Trent is 16 miles and Derby 19 miles. The track is also only around 30 miles away from the Birmingham area.
Major Events at Uttoxeter
Though there are a number of fine race days taking place each and every year at Uttoxeter, the track is very much famous for its two major events. They are:
|Midlands Grand National||Handicap Chase, Listed Race||4m2f||Midlands National Day||March|
|Summer Cup||Handicap Chase, Listed Race||3m2f||Summer Cup Day||June|
About Uttoxeter Racecourse
Though the track is near plenty of amenities and town centres, as we mentioned, it is still considered to be a countryside venue.
Uttoxeter first opened up in 1907 and back then featured only five race meetings each year. Skip forward to the modern day, and the track puts on 25 fixtures each season with two hugely important chases taking place.
National Hunt racing in this area caught on very quick. In fact, the public were starved of racing when the track closed during WWII, an absence of action making collective hearts grow so fond that when the track reopened, there were 12,000 at the first meeting. Even now that would be an impressive attendance.
Uttoxeter has hosted some of the top names in jump racing down the years.
Sir Stanley Clarke, former racecourse chairman whose tracks up and down the country always seemed to sport the same green paint, owned the excellent Lord Gyllene who managed to finish second in the 1997 Midlands Grand National.
Although that was considered a near miss considering this owner would love to have won the race, Lord Gyllene actually went on to win the Grand National at Aintree a few weeks later. Valuable compensation indeed!