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Hamilton Racecourse – All You Need to Know

Published on June 22, 2022
Updated on November 14, 2023
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Hamilton Racecourse - All You Need to Know

Where is Hamilton Racecourse?

Owner: Hamilton Park Trust

Address: Bothwell Road, Hamilton, Lanarkshire, NL3 0DW

Tel: +44 1698 283806


Hamilton Racecourse, also known as Hamilton Park, is located about one mile north-west of the town, on the B7071 Hamilton to Bothwell road. The nearest station is Hamilton West, one mile from the track. The town of Hamilton is approximately 13 miles south east of Glasgow.

Betting at Hamilton Racecourse

Hamilton Racecourse offers Tote betting and on-course bookmakers.

Each of the best bookmaking firms will have their own special offers on horse racing bets.

Streaming at Hamilton Racecourse

Most leading bookmakers, such as Betfred, William Hill, Ladbrokes, Coral and Bet365 have a live streaming to Hamilton Racecourse, so you can enjoy watching and betting on horse races with many firms.

History of Hamilton Racecourse

The earliest recorded meeting at Hamilton was on 6 August 1782 at a site in Chatelherault, just outside the town. By 1785 the course was staging three fixtures a year, but racing ceased after 1811 and did not resume until 1888, when a new course was laid out at the request of a group of whisky magnates who had previously made a couple of unsuccessful attempts to instigate a meeting in Glasgow.

The new Hamilton Racecourse held racing both on the Flat and over jumps. However, it failed to prosper and closed in 1907 when the owner of the land, the Duchess of Hamilton, refused to renew the lease on the grounds that gambling was bad for the lower classes.

It was 19 years before horseracing was revived at Hamilton at its present location. Because of the limited space available on which to build the new racecourse, it was laid it out with a six-furlong straight and a loop.

The opening fixture on 16 July 1926 attracted a crowd of over 40,000. There was another large attendance on 18 July 1947 when Hamilton Racecourse became the first in Britain to stage an evening fixture. Some 18,000 racegoers enjoyed the historic event. The Glasgow Plate, for two-year-olds, was the first race, due off at 6.00pm. The odds-on favourite Culroy won it by four lengths.

Hamilton Racecourse was also the pioneer for holding the first morning meeting, on 8 May 1971, with an 11am start. This was to avoid clashing with that afternoon’s FA Cup Final between Arsenal and Liverpool, but subsequent morning meetings proved unpopular and they soon came to an end.

Since 1973 the racecourse has been owned by the Hamilton Park Trust which ploughs back all profits into developing the course. In excess of £2 million was spent recently on revamping all facilities, making Hamilton Racecourse a state-of-the-art venue.

In addition to the racing action, Hamilton Racecourse has developed a reputation for its post-race concerts, having hosted performers such as Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Jason Donovan, Pixie Lott, Alesha Dixon and Danni Minogue.

In July 2010 Hamilton became the first racecourse in the country to hold and sell out a standalone concert without racing, featuring JLS, along with The Saturdays and Olly Murs. Similar standalone concerts have followed since, including music legend Sir Tom Jones and Australian star Peter Andre.

Hamilton Racecourse track and ground type

Hamilton Racecourse is a strangely shaped course. There’s a 6-furlong (1200m) straight course but the rest of it resembles a ‘buttonhook’ configuration with a pear-shaped right-hand loop.

The maximum distance is 1 mile 5 furlongs (2600m). For that the horses start near the winning post, run down the straight in reverse to a left-hand sweep which takes them to the right-handed loop, re-joining the straight course about 5 furlongs (1000m) from the finish.

The clay subsoil can cause drainage problems, meaning the ground can become very heavy after lengthy spells of rain.

Hamilton Racecourse characteristics

Hamilton Park is sometimes referred to as the ‘Goodwood of the North’ due to their similar layouts. But it’s actually more akin to Salisbury. It’s an undulating course which often favours front-runners. The first quarter of a mile of the 6f (1200m) straight course is downhill, but there is a pronounced hollow just over 3f from the end, followed by a stiff uphill finish.

The steep downhill run to the bottom of the dip can cause inexperienced jockeys to start racing too early. It’s still a long way home from there.

It’s vital in long-distance races that a jockey is able to settle their horse early on, otherwise they will be going too fast down the hill, long before reaching the top loop. Balance is an important factor here.

Effect of the draw at Hamilton Racecourse

On 30 March 2011 stall numbering on right-hand courses was switched so that the inside rail is always stall number one.

Hamilton is seen as a course with a distinct draw bias favouring low-drawn runners, particularly when the ground is soft or softer. However, when the ground is good or quicker there is pretty much an even split.

There is very little draw bias in sprint races. Horses drawn high have a slight advantage in one-mile (1600m) and nine-furlong (1800m) races.

Fixtures for Hamilton Racecourse in 2022

Hamilton Park stages 19 days of Flat racing between May and September in 2022, 8 of which are evening fixtures.

  • May: 1, 8, 13, 25
  • Jun: 2, 8, 15, 23, 28
  • Jul: 9, 14, 15, 30
  • Aug: 16, 26, 31
  • Sep: 18, 19, 26

Hamilton Racecourse biggest events and fixtures

Hamilton’s evening meetings are by far the most popular in terms of attendance. Most have post-racing concerts featuring well-known performers, groups or DJs.

Glasgow Stakes race night in June is among the biggest at Hamilton Racecourse. It includes the Scottish Stewards’ Cup and the course’s most prestigious race, the Listed Glasgow Stakes. The Glasgow Stakes is a race for three-year-olds over a distance of 1 mile 3 furlongs and 15 yards (2,227 metres). It used to be held at York but was transferred to Hamilton in 2006.

Hamilton’s Saints & Sinners charity race night boasts a far longer history, dating back to 1965. Every year this popular evening meeting raises funds for over 100 small Scottish charities.

Lanark Silver Bell race night is another Hamilton Racecourse highlight. The trophy dates back to 1165 and is believed to have been gifted to the people of Lanark by King William The Lion of Scotland. The race was held at Lanark until that course’s closure in 1977. It was resurrected at Hamilton in 2012 and takes place at the course’s final evening fixture, when the original historic bell will be displayed alongside the present Lanark Silver Bell trophy. .

The 2022 running of the Lanark Silver Bell is on Friday 26 August. Prize-money for this year’s race has been increased to £100,000, which will make it the most valuable race ever run at Hamilton

Recent high-class winners at Hamilton Racecourse

Since the transfer of the Glasgow Stakes from York to Hamilton Racecourse in 2006, the race has been won by some high-class horses who use it as a stepping stone to greater things. Three recent winners stand out.

Postponed, the 2014 winner, went on to land York’s Great Voltigeur Stakes later that season. The following year he won the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, then in 2016 added the Dubai Sheema Classic, the Coronation Cup and the International Stakes.

Defoe won the Glasgow Stakes in 2017 before going on to annex the Group 3 Geoffrey Freer Stakes. His 2018 victories included the Group 3 John Porter Stakes and Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes. In 2019 he achieved Group 1 glory in Epsom’s Coronation Cup and followed up by winning the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Subjectivist, the 2020 Glasgow Stakes winner, won the Group 3 March Stakes at Goodwood in August before winning the Prix Royal Oak (French St Leger). In 2021 he won the Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup, then enjoyed his greatest success in that year’s Group 1 Ascot Gold Cup.

There is little in the way of actual trends. However, with its marked undulations and stiff uphill finish, Hamilton Racecourse puts a premium on stamina, so it’s worth noting horses that have won at the trip at a similarly stiff course, such as Carlisle, or have won over further.

Leading trainers at Hamilton Racecourse

The most successful trainers at Hamilton Racecourse in the last three years are Keith Dalgleish, Richard Fahey, Mark Johnston (now Charlie and Mark Johnston), Tim Easterby and David O’Meara.

Leading jockeys at Hamilton Racecourse

Jockeys who have ridden the most winners at Hamiton Racecourse in the last three years are Ben Curtis, Danny Tudhope, Kevin Stott, Callum Rodriguez and Paul Mulrennan.

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