Ayr Racecourse at Whitletts Road, Scotland, was opened in 1907. There are courses for flat and for National Hunt racing. Horse racing in Ayr dates back to 1576, but the first official meeting did not take place until 1771 at a racecourse situated in the Seafield area of the town; this first racecourse was a mile oval with sharp bends. In the early days, racing was supported by the local landed gentry and members of the Caledonian Hunt. Important figures in the course's history have included the Earl of Eglinton, Sir James Boswell and the Duke of Portland. In 1824, Ayr's most important race meeting, the Western Meeting, was established and by 1838 it offered £2000 in prize money and the most valuable two-year-old race of the season in Britain; the meeting's feature race, the Ayr Gold Cup, became a handicap race in 1855 and is now the richest sprint handicap in Europe. Due to the small size of the track and limitations on the size of the paddock, a new site for the racecourse was sought and in 1907, the course was moved to its current location in the Craigie area of town.
After extensive research into other British courses, the new course layout was based on that of Newbury, with the exception that Ayr's straight course is six furlongs rather than a mile. The former racecourse is now playing fields, known as the Old Racecourse, part of Seafield golf course. Local road names Racecourse Road and Racecourse View reflect this history. A jumps track was added in 1950 and in 1966 the Scottish Grand National was transferred to the track after Bogside Racecourse was closed down, it is now regarded as the premier racecourse in Scotland. Flat races at Ayr are run over the following distances: 5 furlongs 6 furlongs 7 furlongs 50 yards 1 mile 1 mile 1 furlong 20 yards 10 furlongs 1 mile 2 furlongs 192 yards 1 mile 5 furlongs 13 yards 1 mile 7 furlongs 2 miles 1 furlong 105 yardsThe track is a left-handed oval of 12 furlongs including a half mile run in. A six furlong chute joins the round track after just over a furlong; the course is flat, with gentle undulations in the straight.
The turns are well graded and it can be regarded as a fair track. Hurdle races are run over distances of: 2 miles 1 furlong 2 miles 4 furlongs 2 miles 6 furlongs 3 miles 110 yards 3 miles 2 furlongs 110 yards 3 miles 3 furlongs 110 yardsChases are run over: 2 miles 2 miles 4 furlongs 2 miles 5 furlongs 110 yards 3 miles 1 furlong 3 miles 2 furlongs 110 yards 3 miles 3 furlongs 110 yards 3 miles 5 furlongs 4 miles 110 yards The jumps course is a left-handed one and a half mile circuit with nine fences, it runs downhill to the home turn and thereafter there is a gentle rise to the finish, a run-in of 210 yards. Conditions can get gruelling; the paddock stand at Ayr is named the Rothesay Stand in honour of Charles and Camilla and Duchess of Rothesay. Ayr has been voted Best Racecourse in Scotland and the North East nineteen times by the Racegoers Club, including nine years in a row up until 2013, it has won the Neil Wyatt Ground Staff Award for the Best Dual Purpose Course twice – in 1996 and 2011.
This award is voted on by representatives of the National Trainers Federation and Professional Jockeys' Association to recognise the achievements of racecourse groundstaff. In 2012, Ayr was nominated in two categories in the Racecourse Association Showcase Awards – the Food and Beverage and Owners' Experience categories, winning the latter, it has been designated a five star visitor attraction by VisitScotland. Number of fixtures – 19 Prize money – £1,384,100 Top jockey – Graham Lee Top owner – Johnie Delta Racing Top trainer – Jim Goldie Top trainer – Richard Fahey, 55 wins from 325 runs Top trainer – Donald McCain, 44 wins from 319 runs Discontinued racesScottish Derby Official website Course guide on GG. COM Course guide at Drawbias.com Course guide on At The Races
Taunton Racecourse is a thoroughbred horse racing venue located in Orchard Portman, two miles south of Taunton, England. Opened in 1927, Taunton is the youngest National Hunt course in England, the last racecourse to be opened in Britain until Great Leighs in 2008. Horse racing has been taking place in the Taunton area since the 18th century taking place in Broomhay, West Monkton, though these ceased in 1812 due in combination to the Napoleonic Wars and a lack of interest. Racing continued in Bridgwater, 11 miles north, but recommenced in Taunton in 1825; the course was on the site now occupied by King's College, was praised in the annual publication Sporting Magazine. Race meetings took place for two days at the beginning of September; the site was troubled by heavy rain in 1838, which washed out all the races, two years racing moved to Trull Moor, where they continued for a further 15 years. After this, the sport was once again confined to Bridgwater, ceased there at the outbreak of World War I.
In 1927, at a meeting held in London, the Taunton Racecourse Company was founded, agreed to create a new course on land granted for the purpose by Viscount Portman. The site had housed Orchard Portman House, the seat of the Portman family, but the house was destroyed in 1840. A small church, part of the estate is still visible on the backstretch; the first meeting was held on 21 September 1927, the first race, the "Shoreditch Selling Hurdle" was won by Baalbek, owned by Mr Rayson. Spectators were housed in nothing more than a wooden stand, surrounded by huge puddles of mud, but the ground has been outgraded, include the Orchard Stand and the Paddock Stand and the newer AP McCoy stand, which provide catering facilities and are used for meetings and conferences on days when racing is not taking place; the course was the last racecourse to be opened in Britain for 81 years, until Great Leighs hosted its first race in 2008, followed the subsequent year by Ffos Las. Taunton is a right-handed oval track, with two tight bends.
The course is 1 mile and 2 furlongs in length, has both fences and open ditches to negotiate. The course was improved during the building of the M5 motorway, with the removed earth being used to extend the back straight and the bends. Taunton Racecourse Course guide on At The Races
Virgin Media Limited is a British company which provides telephone and internet services in the United Kingdom. Its headquarters are in Hampshire. Since 2013, Virgin Media has been a subsidiary of Liberty Global plc, an international television and telecommunications company; the company was listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market and London Stock Exchange. Virgin Media is not a sister company of Virgin Mobile USA, owned by Sprint Corporation; the company was founded in March 2006 by the merger of Telewest, which created NTL: Telewest. In July 2006, the company purchased Virgin Mobile UK, creating the first "quadruple-play" media company in the United Kingdom, offering television, mobile phone and fixed-line telephone services. In November 2006, the company signed a deal with Sir Richard Branson to licence the Virgin brand for the combined business. All of the company's consumer services were rebranded under the Virgin Media name in February 2007. Virgin Media owns and operates its own fibre-optic cable network in the United Kingdom, although their optical fibre network does not reach the customer premises, rather they connect to a street cabinet.
As of 31 December 2012, it had a total of 4.8 million cable customers, of whom around 3.79 million were supplied with its television services, around 4.2 million with broadband internet services and around 4.1 million with fixed-line telephony services. At the same date, it had around 3 million mobile telephony customers. Virgin Media competes in broadband with Sky, BT Group and TalkTalk, in mobile with EE, O2, Vodafone and Three; the company's origins lie in both Telewest and NTL, which merged in March 2006. Telewest began in 1984 in Croydon under the name "Croydon Cable", was acquired by United Cable of Denver in 1988; the company expanded during the 1990s and adopted the Telewest name in 1992 following the merger of its then-parent TCI and US West. It expanded into cable television access in 1999 by purchasing the remaining 50% stake in Cable London, one of the first cable TV companies in the UK, from NTL, adding 400,000 homes in north London. In April 2000 Telewest merged with Flextech, in November extended its cable network with the acquisition of Eurobell, taking the total number of homes past 4.9 million.
NTL was established by Barclay Knapp and George Blumenthal in 1993 as "International CableTel", taking advantage of the deregulation of the UK cable market. Cabletel acquired local cable franchises covering Guildford, Northern Ireland and parts of Central Scotland and South Wales. In 1996 CableTel acquired National Transcommunications Limited, the privatised UK Independent Broadcasting Authority transmission network. In 1998 CableTel adopted "NTL" as its new name. NTL purchased the ISP Virgin.net in 2004, having operated it as a joint venture with Virgin Group since it launched in November 1996. It sold ADSL broadband services through BT landlines to those living outside areas served by NTL's cable network and offered subscription-based and subscription-free dial-up Internet access. Prior to acquiring Virgin.net, NTL offered. Telewest and NTL began discussions regarding a merger in late 2003. Thanks to their geographically distinct areas, NTL and Telewest had co-operated as in redirecting potential customers living outside their respective areas.
On 3 October 2005, NTL announced a US$16 billion purchase of Telewest, to form one of the largest media companies in the UK. The merger agreement as structured would have required NTL to negotiate with BBC Worldwide due to a change-of-ownership clause written into the agreement for UKTV, a joint venture with Telewest's Flextech content division. To prevent this, Telewest instead acquired NTL. In December 2005 NTL:Telewest and mobile virtual network operator Virgin Mobile UK announced that talks had taken place regarding a merger. Virgin Mobile's independent directors rejected the original bid of £817 million, taking the view that NTL's bid "undervalued the business". Sir Richard Branson expressed confidence that a restructured deal could go ahead, in January 2006 NTL increased its offer to £961 million. On 4 April 2006, NTL announced a £962.4 million recommended offer for Virgin Mobile. According to reports, Branson accepted a mix of shares and cash, making him a 10.7% shareholder of the combined company.
NTL and Telewest formally completed their merger on 3 March 2006, making the merged company the UK's largest cable provider, with more than 90% of the market. The combined company renamed itself NTL Incorporated, with ex-NTL shareholders controlling 75% of the stock and ex-Telewest shareholders 25%. Nine of the 11 directors of the new board came with two from Telewest. NTL:Telewest's takeover of Virgin Mobile completed on 4 July 2006, creating the UK's first'quadruple play' media company, bringing together television, mobile phone and fixed-line phone services; the deal included a 30-year exclusive branding agreement that saw NTL adopt the "Virgin" name after it completed its merger with Telewest. NTL:Telewest announced on 8 November 2006 it would change its name to "Virgin Media Inc". On 9 November 2006, NTL announced it had approached the commercial television broadcaster ITV plc about a proposed merger, after a similar announcement by ITV. BSkyB blocked the merger on 17 November 2006 by controversially buying a 17.9% stake in ITV plc, a move that attracted anger from NTL shareholder Richard Branson, an investigation from media and telecoms regulator Ofcom.
On 6 December 2006 NTL announced that it had complained to the Office of Fair Trading about BSkyB's
Horse racing is an equestrian performance sport involving two or more horses ridden by jockeys over a set distance for competition. It is one of the most ancient of all sports, as its basic premise – to identify which of two or more horses is the fastest over a set course or distance – has been unchanged since at least classical antiquity. Horse races vary in format and many countries have developed their own particular traditions around the sport. Variations include restricting races to particular breeds, running over obstacles, running over different distances, running on different track surfaces and running in different gaits. While horses are sometimes raced purely for sport, a major part of horse racing's interest and economic importance is in the gambling associated with it, an activity that in 2008 generated a worldwide market worth around US$115 billion. Horse racing has a long and distinguished history and has been practised in civilisations across the world since ancient times. Archaeological records indicate that horse racing occurred in Ancient Greece, Babylon and Egypt.
It plays an important part of myth and legend, such as the contest between the steeds of the god Odin and the giant Hrungnir in Norse mythology. Chariot racing was one of the most popular ancient Greek and Byzantine sports. Both chariot and mounted horse racing were events in the ancient Greek Olympics by 648 BC and were important in the other Panhellenic Games, it continued although chariot racing was dangerous to both driver and horse, which suffered serious injury and death. In the Roman Empire and mounted horse racing were major industries. From the mid-fifteenth century until 1882, spring carnival in Rome closed with a horse race. Fifteen to 20 riderless horses imported from the Barbary Coast of North Africa, were set loose to run the length of the Via del Corso, a long, straight city street. In times, Thoroughbred racing became, remains, popular with aristocrats and royalty of British society, earning it the title "Sport of Kings". Equestrians honed their skills through games and races. Equestrian sports provided entertainment for crowds and displayed the excellent horsemanship needed in battle.
Horse racing of all types evolved from impromptu competitions between drivers. The various forms of competition, requiring demanding and specialized skills from both horse and rider, resulted in the systematic development of specialized breeds and equipment for each sport; the popularity of equestrian sports through the centuries has resulted in the preservation of skills that would otherwise have disappeared after horses stopped being used in combat. There are many different types of horse racing, including: Flat racing, where horses gallop directly between two points around a straight or oval track. Jump racing, or Jumps racing known as Steeplechasing or, in the UK and Ireland, National Hunt racing, where horses race over obstacles. Harness racing, where horses trot or pace while pulling a driver in a sulky. Saddle Trotting, where horses must trot from a starting point to a finishing point under saddle Endurance racing, where horses travel across country over extreme distances ranging from 25 to 100 miles.
Different breeds of horses have developed. Breeds that are used for flat racing include the Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse, Arabian and Appaloosa. Jump racing breeds include the Thoroughbred and AQPS. In harness racing, Standardbreds are used in Australia, New Zealand and North America, when in Europe and French Trotter are used with Standardbred. Light cold blood horses, such as Finnhorses and Scandinavian coldblood trotter are used in harness racing within their respective geographical areas. There are races for ponies: both flat and jump and harness racing. Flat racing is the most common form of racing seen worldwide. Flat racing tracks are oval in shape and are level, although in Great Britain and Ireland there is much greater variation, including figure of eight tracks like Windsor and tracks with severe gradients and changes of camber, such as Epsom Racecourse. Track surfaces vary, with turf most common in Europe, dirt more common in North America and Asia, newly designed synthetic surfaces, such as Polytrack or Tapeta, seen at some tracks.
Individual flat races are run over distances ranging from 440 yards up to two and a half miles, with distances between five and twelve furlongs being most common. Short races are referred to as "sprints", while longer races are known as "routes" in the United States or "staying races" in Europe. Although fast acceleration is required to win either type of race, in general sprints are seen as a test of speed, while long distance races are seen as a test of stamina; the most prestigious flat races in the world, such as the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, Melbourne Cup, Japan Cup, Epsom Derby, Kentucky Derby and Dubai World Cup, are run over distances in the middle of this range and are seen as tests of both speed and stamina to some extent. In the most prestigious races, horses are allocated the same weight to carry for fairness, with allowances given to younger horses and female horses running against males; these races offer the biggest purses. There is another category of races called handicap races where each horse is assigned a different weight to carry based on its ability.
Beside the weight they carry, horses' performance can be influenced by position relative to the inside barrier, gender and training. Jump racing in Gr
Kempton Park Racecourse
Kempton Park Racecourse is a horse racing track together with a licensed entertainment and conference venue in Sunbury-on-Thames, England, 16 miles south-west of Charing Cross, London and on a border of Greater London. The site has 210 acres of flat grassland surrounded by woodland with two lakes in its centre, its entrance borders Kempton Park railway station, created for racegoers on a branch line from London Waterloo, via Clapham Junction. It has adjoining outer courses for flat and fenced racing. Among its races, the King George VI Chase takes place on Boxing Day, a Grade 1 National Hunt chase, open to horses aged four years or older; the racecourse was the idea of 19th-century businessman S. H. Hyde, enjoying a carriage drive in the country when he came across Kempton Manor and Park for sale. Hyde leased the grounds as tenant in 1872 and six years in July 1878 Kempton opened as a racecourse; this was the feudal lord's demesne of a manor recorded in the Domesday Book and has had at least four variant names but though early Victorian gateposts exist, no buildings of the manor house remain.
The site closed to reopen with a new all-weather polytrack main track and floodlighting to enable racing at all light levels and all but the most severe bad weather. Flat racing from 2006 is run on the synthetic track so the historic "Jubilee Course", a mile long spur which joined the main track by the home bend, used for the "Jubilee Handicap" which parred the Cambridgeshire and the Stewards' Cup in seniority, was abandoned, it is now overgrown for racing. On 10 January 2017 the Jockey Club announced the closure of the 230-acre site by 2021 for a total of £500 million investment programme over a 10-year period, submitted for consideration following the local authority's'Call for Sites' to address unmet local housing needs; the plan includes the move of some important jumps races like the King George VI Chase and Christmas Hurdle to the Sandown Park Racecourse with the other jumps fixtures to be spread around other Jockey Club-owned racecourses throughout the country, while the all-weather track to be replaced by a new artificial track to be built at Newmarket.
Kempton Park stages National Hunt racing and flat racing, with the most famous race being the King George VI Chase held every Boxing Day, a foremost grade 1 race. Associated, the Feltham Novices' Chase takes place on Boxing Day, a grade 1 race. With similar challenges, past winners of the Feltham and of the King George VI Chase include Kauto Star and Long Run; the last weekend of February hosts the BetBright Chase. Early September hosts the Sirenia Stakes major race day. In addition to racing, the site is home to a weekly market on Thursdays, holds an antiques market on the second and last Tuesday of every month and seasonal wedding fairs. Reception areas and two restaurants can be booked for private hospitality or celebrations. Boxes are used for meetings and race days. Upper tiers of the grandstand and boxes have views toward Sandown Park's Esher and Oxshott ridge and the North Downs range of hills. Woodland and parkland forms the backdrop from the grandstand. LakeThe horse Blue Warrior strayed and fell into Kempton Park's centre-course lake having jumped before the start of the 19.20 on 14 January 2009.
The rescue operation to get the horse out of the lake caused the race to be delayed by 15 minutes, with the horse rescued and sustaining a minor cut to his leg. All-weather Opened in March 2006, this floodlit polytrack synthetic course is a right-handed oval of 8 or 10 furlongs, depending on whether the inner or outer bend is used. National Hunt Triangular circuit 1m5f flat, with 220-yard run-in. Other racesDragonfly Stakes Hyde Stakes Ladybird Stakes London Mile Masaka Stakes Road to the Kentucky Derby Conditions Stakes Sunbury Stakes Wild Flower Stakes The Mascot Grand National, a charity footrace between sporting and corporate mascots; the racecourse has a purpose-built railway station, on the London Waterloo to Shepperton line. For racegoers not travelling via the capital, including the direct Thameslink from Bedford to Brighton, a junction station on this short line is at Clapham Junction and for services on lines from Reading and Windsor to Waterloo, a change can be made at Twickenham followed by nearby Teddington.
The A308 so does the A316 that becomes the M3 motorway. Free parking is available for visitors. Official website
Exeter Racecourse is a thoroughbred horse racing venue located near the city of Exeter, England. Locally it is known as Haldon racecourse because of its location on top of the Haldon Hills; until the early 1990s it was known as Devon and Exeter. On 1 November 2005 racehorse Best Mate died at the course of a suspected heart attack whilst competing in the William Hill Haldon Gold Cup. Horse racing has been part of Exeter's heritage since the middle of the 17th century, one of many racecourses created due to Charles II's love of the sport, there have been claims that the racecourse is one of the oldest in the country. Horse racing rules were standardised after the Jockey Club was formed in 1750. A race was written about by Louisa Graves in 1819, there were records of meetings at the course in 1804 earlier; the course was popular during the early 19th century. By 1850, the popularity of National Hunt racing had waned and William White's gazetteer claimed that it was "little used", it popularity increased again over the following years, although there was a pause in racing during World War II.
The course has been known variously as Haldon racecourse by locals due to its location and Exeter until the 1990s and more Exeter Racecourse. The last duel in Devon occurred at the racecourse in 1833, when Peter Hennis, a doctor, Sir John Jeffcott, a judge, drew pistols over Hennis spreading gossip. Hennis was wounded in the exchange, died the following week. In 1911, a new grandstand was built at the cost of £1,000, designed by J. Archibald Lucas, designed to be 75 feet long and 32 feet deep, holding over 600 people, the majority of which would be under cover; the new stand was made of steel but with an iron roof, held a bar, a weigh-room and other facilities as well as storage space. By 2006, Exeter Racecourse included three stands, Haldon and Brockman; the Haldon stand was opened by Anne, Princess Royal in 2004 and caters for the premier ticket holders, while the Anstey stand was opened by Lord Woodrow Wyatt in 1986. Upstairs in the Haldon stand, there is a gallery with seating to watch the races, a bar named after Best Mate, as well as the Desert Orchid restaurant.
For non-premier ticket holders, there is the Romany King bar, burger van. The course is near Exeter. At 850 feet above sea level, the racecourse is the highest in the United Kingdom; the original course was described as a "fine oval course of two miles", though in the 1850s an additional flat course was added, one mile long, making the total course length three miles. By the 1940s, the steeplechase matched the line of the original course. One lap of the course includes eleven fences, two of which are one a water jump; the course has had a Gold Cup race, won in 1807 by Lord Charles Somerset's horse, sire of Sir Peter Teazle. There have been special races in the 1810s to focus on three-year-old thoroughbreds foaled in the West Country. Presently the best known race is the Haldon Gold Cup, held in November. In 2005 the three-time winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Best Mate and died of a suspected heart attack after its jockey pulled up during the race. Charity races at the course have included jockeys riding Clydesdale horses in aid of Devon Air Ambulance in 2013, Dartmoor ponies in aid of Cancer Research UK in 2014.
During the summer the Caravan and Motorhome club run a caravan site in the grounds of the racecourse. Official website Exeter Racecourse in Little Blue Pen
Musselburgh Racecourse is a horse racing venue located in the Millhill area of Musselburgh, East Lothian, Scotland, UK, close to the River Esk. It is the second biggest racecourse in Scotland and is the fourteenth biggest in the UK. In 2016, Musselburgh will stage 28 fixtures; the course is 2 km long. In the middle of the course is a nine-hole golf course, dating from at least 1672; the Royal Musselburgh Golf Club was founded there in 1774. The racecourse itself sits on Musselburgh common good land, it is situated on the eastern side of the town, less than a mile from the A1 and two miles from the Edinburgh City Bypass. A road bridge over the Esk gives access to the course on race days only; the first races in Musselburgh took place in 1777 under the auspices of the Royal Caledonian Hunt. Between 1789 and 1816, race meetings were held on the sands at Leith, although some races did still take place in the town. In 1816, they returned permanently to Musselburgh, to a course, laid out for them by the town council.
The Hunt were so pleased with the new course that they distributed 50 guineas amongst the town’s poor. After the legalisation of off course betting shops in 1961, racecourse attendances went into decline; this hit Scotland hard, with Lanark and Bogside racecourses both going bankrupt. By the 1980s Musselburgh looked to be heading the same way, despite a temporary financial reprieve in 1987 when racecourses began to sell pictures of races to the betting shops, it was still losing money at the start of the 1990s; as a result, in 1991, East Lothian Council took over the running of the racecourse from the Lothians Racing Syndicate Limited. The Council brought the racecourse to a breakeven position in one year. In 1994, the Council and the Lothians Racing Syndicate created the Musselburgh Joint Racing Committee to run the racecourse, a partnership which still exists today; the Council own the racecourse facilities and assets and the MJRC pay a full commercial rent for use of the land and facilities to both the Common Good Fund and ELC.
From 1995 onwards, a £7.5 million refurbishment plan was put in place. This included a prestigious new hospitality stand, the refurbishment of the Edwardian Grandstand, the building of the Links Pavilion, a new weighing room and entrance complexes, a new parade ring, new stables and groundstaff facilities, extensive landscaping and improvements to the track itself. In 2012 an all weather strip was introduced to the track to prevent the bends being chopped up. Annual attendance is over 70,000 per annum, up from 38,000 in 1999. Ladies' Day in June is the biggest day with sell-out crowds of 10,000. In 2011, Musselburgh won the Dual Purpose Award at the Neil Wyatt Racecourse Groundstaff Awards, beating the much bigger Ascot Racecourse into second place. Musselburgh Racecourse have won a range of awards through the RCA Showcase Awards. Maggie Dickson Stakes, 7 furlongs William Hill Scottish Sprint Cup, 5 Furlongs. Royal Mile, 1 Mile. Edinburgh Cup, 1 Mile 4 Furlongs. Queen's 1 Mile 6 Furlongs. Edinburgh National, 4 Miles.
Official website Gazetteer for Scotland BBC article on upgrading of the racecourse Course guide on GG. COM Course guide on At The Races