Many racing fans will fondly remember Warwick as being a popular dual-purpose course, however after staging its last Flat meeting in 2014, it is now exclusively a National Hunt venue.
Jumps meetings are hosted throughout the busiest part of the season, from September on, with three major race days taking place in January and February.
- Address – Warwick Racecourse, Hampton Street, Warwick, CV34 6HN.
- Owner – The Jockey Club.
- TV Station – Racing TV.
- Type – National Hunt.
- Surface – Turf.
Warwick is a left-handed track, mostly flat other than for a pretty steep climb just after the finish line. That then descends gradually towards the turn back onto the straight.
It’s pretty sharp in nature because of its tight turns, though there is a long back straight which allows the more galloping type to get itself together. Five fences come up in fairly rapid order here, so for steeplechasers this is thought of as a tough track.
The speed needed between those fences and the sharp turns mean that, despite the long back straight, this course does favour speed and those who are ridden handily tend to do better.
The feedback from jockeys is that Warwick is very much all about speed. As such, not many are too keen on riding novices there, though some good ones still show up.
The quick nature of the way the fences come up mean that a horse with a sharp brain is needed, not something we can necessarily know about in advance in all truth. For hurdlers, jockeys again see the track as sharp with former Flat horses doing well as they are used to more speed.
Sometimes that speed, especially on slower ground, can give proper stayers a chance over the longer distances. Races here tend to be ridden at a good clip meaning you can’t get away with staying every yard of the advertised distance.
Visiting Warwick Racecourse
There are two enclosures at Warwick; the Main Grandstand and the Course Enclosure.
The Main Grandstand is where most amenities are, including access to the parade ring, the main betting ring and a number of food and beverage outlets.
The Course Enclosure is only available on New Year’s Eve and features Warwick’s ‘Centre of the Course Party Enclosure’.
How to Get to Warwick
Warwick is an easy one for drivers. The track sits in the Midlands, easily accessible from a host of main roads including the M40 from junction 15, the M42, the M5 and the M6.
The racecourse entrance is on Hampton Street which is off the A429, coming up soon after you enter the town of Warwick from junction 15 of the M40. The track is also signposted.
If you’re arriving into Warwick another way or are staying in the centre, you can get to the track easily. Using the Warwick Town Centre Bus Station as your starting point; follow Puckerings Lane to the end, turn right onto Bowling Green Street, right again at the end onto Friars Street and follow for less than a quarter of a mile.
Where to Stay
Warwick itself will probably offer enough hotel, B&B and rental property options, however if that’s not the case or you’re looking for somewhere busier then the centre of Birmingham is only around 30 miles away.
Warwick Racecourse Fixtures
|Thursday||14th Dec 2023||Afternoon||Jump / Turf|
|Sunday||31st Dec 2023||Afternoon||Jump / Turf|
Biggest Races at Warwick
Warwick is popular through the autumn and winter with jumps fans, as well as with plenty of trainers. Their three biggest days are Classic Chase Day in mid-January, Members Raceday in late January and Kingmaker Chase Day in early to mid-February.
The best races to take place on Warwick’s three big days are:
|Edward Courage Cup||5yo+, Handicap Chase, Class 2||2m||January|
|Hampton Novices’ Chase||5yo+, Novices’ Chase, Grade 2||3m||January|
|Leamington Novices’ Hurdle||5yo+, Novices’ Hurdle, Grade 2||2m5f||January|
|Classic Chase||5yo+, Handicap Chase, Grade 3||3m5f||January|
|Pertemps Hurdle Qualifier||5yo+, Handicap Hurdle, Class 2||3m1f||January|
|Warwick Mares’ Hurdle||4yo+, Mares Only, Hurdle, Listed Race||2m5f||February|
|Kingmaker Novices’ Chase||5yo+, Novices’ Chase, Grade 2||2m||February|
|Warwick Castle Chase||5yo+, Handicap Chase, Class 2||2m4f||February|
About Warwick Racecourse
Warwick, as well as being a very popular racecourse, is also steeped in tradition.
The course was the first to include a jump race of any kind in its schedule, essentially establishing jumps racing in Britain although steeplechasing can be traced back to Ireland.
Situated close to Warwick Castle, the racecourse is picturesque and is one of the oldest in Britain with racing having been traced back to 1694. It could have taken place even earlier.
The first known official race at Warwick was staged in 1707, but more than 100 years went by before a stand was built for racegoers and in fact parts of that original stand are still evident at the track today.
Plenty of horses have visited Warwick, especially novices, but by far the most famous was Red Rum. The three-time Grand National winner ran on the Flat there in 1967 if you can believe that, a year that coincided with Warwick being bought by The Jockey Club who, under their Jockey Club Racecourses arm, still own the track today.
As for Warwick’s best races; the Classic Chase has been held here since 1974. A 3m5f handicap, the race attracts top stayers and potentially top future stayers and was won in 2017 by subsequent Grand National winner One For Arthur.
Also important on the calendar here is the Kingmaker Novices’ Hurdle. A Grade 2 race, the two-mile event is aimed at the better novices on the circuit who are en-route to Cheltenham with Flagship Uberalles, Voy Por Ustedes, Long Run, Finian’s Rainbow, Saint Calvados, Rouge Vif and Edwardstone having all won the race.
Many other good horses have even been beaten in the Kingmaker, only to go on and win at major festivals making this race an important stop-off for some of the best future star jumpers, just as its name would suggest.