Approx no. of meetings
Rail from London (2 hours)
Bus from Birkenhead (1 hour)
Railway station to Racecourse (1 mile)
Taxis. – Best to pre-book as queues get long.
There different enclosures, Boxes and stands, 1539 restaurant, Large number of bars, centre course Winning Post, MBNA club, White horse Pub and festival village. No Tote on site, ChesterBet operates.
Stayed in the Mercure outside the city, many other options exist, but can be pricey on race days; book early.
Many classes of ticket. Only county and upwards have access to the Paddock.
(1) Return after challenge complete
25th June – UK Tracks Visited (16)
Let’s start with the basics, the course is magnificent. It is built alongside the city wall and that is the access for the cheapest Gazebo tickets. In fact, from the centre of the track it looks like so many insects crawling over the wall to get in. The scale of the place for an inner city Racetrack is breath-taking. We arrived from the hotel, in a cab and were told the city was already gridlocked. This apparently happens on race days so plan accordingly.
Once arrived we surveyed the track, enclosures, grandstands and facilities. We had splashed out as this as the last day of our week of visiting 5 British race tracks, so I had organised tickets for the Winning Post enclosure. This was through the subway which led to our first surprise. The paddock was in the centre of the track; this is a first. In terms of our location, it was perfect. If you can stump up for the tickets (£90 each) this is worth it as you are both right next to the paddock and the winning post of the track. Also in this enclosure you are reserved a table which is really handy as a base of operation. Madam Hoof and I stayed under cover as inclement weather was forecast later and it did in fact turn chilly. Once thing I would say to sum up the organisation; slick. This is a very well-oiled machine. Thank you to all from the bar staff to security guards who made it run like clockwork.
Now, this subway thing and the paddock are interesting. Firstly, county enclosure people can access both the main stand and the centre of the course to view the horses. However rather than the front to back tidal flow I talk of at other tracks, this creates a flow through the subway. When the track is busy, this can become pretty crowded. But, on the bonus side, once you are in the centre of the track you can see the horses go from paddock straight out onto the track and it is all quite “up close and personal”. (Yes Franny Norton and David Probert, that was Madam Hoof screaming at you in a My Fair Lady pastiche.)
The oddest thing about this course is frankly ChesterBet. We have not been to a track before where there is no tote. ChesterBet say they operate a tote, but none of the bets are the same or exist. The placepot is not on race 1-6, but 2-7 and is not called a placepot for instance. Also, the operators were not all that knowledgeable, which generally doesn’t happen with Tote. My Humble opinion of course, but it is my blog, so I am allowed to say it.
The final comment I would make is this. The more money you pay for a ticket, the less of the race you appear to see. In the Gazebo cheap seats, you may not see the finish in detail, but you can pretty much see the whole track. In the winning post and White Horse pub, you can see a small section of track and a repeater screen high up. Even in the stands the view is somewhat obscured by the festival village in the centre of the track. Small points and not enough to spoil and excellent days racing (I came out up and Madam Hoof won on the last race).