All Weather (Flat)
Approx no. of meetings
Rail from London (2.5 Hours)
Railway station to Racecourse (2.1 miles)
Taxis - Plentiful
Premium and non-premium stands, multiple bars, fabulous restaurant facilities in the 3 tiered Horizons restaurant and several tote offices including stand alone and in bars. Ladbrokes on-sight bookmaker.
Holiday Inn Express as part of the track complex is an amazing find, with views over the Paddock.
Premium, and Grandstand only, discount in advance, drinks and food packages available. Prices vary upon event, by 21 and 11 seemed about average.
(2) Return before challenge complete
11th November 2016– UK Tracks Visited (20), Irish Tracks Visited (3)
Wolverhampton races at Dunstall Park is something of a surprise and a lovely one at that. As we were staying overnight in the onsite hotel, we arrived by car. When you drive through Wolverhampton, you tend to see a fair amount of industry and historical industrial revolution architecture. However, go under the railway viaduct and you enter a new world in an almost Narnia like transformation. The hotel and racing complex are surrounded by an oasis of green. We checked into the hotel and were met with a great friendly welcome by our Jamaican born member of staff and quickly got to our room to be ready for the evening ahead.
As I have said before, evening racing, especially when we are coming into the winter season can be a difficult thing to judge. This is exacerbated if one does not know the track specifics and things like how busy it will be and how much cover there is from the weather. For this reason, rather like our night racing at Nottingham, we decided to book into the restaurant for dinner. This was by far the best thing we could have done. The Horizons restaurant is laid out in three levels of tiering, with tables varying in size from 2 to approx. 10 covers, each with both a great view of the track and with its own TV monitor. Combine this with a great selection of four starters, mains and desserts from the set menu and a well-priced wine and champagne menu and you are in for a good night. Speaking to David the general manager, the decision to run the restaurant as a restaurant, not banqueting, with a freshly rotated and seasonal menu, meant that the experience of racing was enhanced by the food, not let down.
In terms of betting, there was floating tote staff in the room and (although the outcomes were terrible) this meant the process of betting was very effective. However, as you are probably aware by now, food and drink are not the main event with racing but rather the horses. The Paddock at this track is behind the stands and then the horses are very cleverly “snaked” on a path which takes them onto the track. On the subject of the track; being set up for night time meetings, the visibility due to the floodlighting is very good. For those not in the very cool restaurant, there is ample room in the stands for viewing the race and there are good facilities for food and drink from concessions and the Weigh-in bar. The most amusing part of the night for me is to see that when it gets cold at night the on track bookmakers move their high tech rigs into the bar area, which is something I don’t think I have seen before.
In closing, this is a fabulous experience. A journey from industry to fantasy through a viaduct with a warm welcome, great facilities and a very competitive night’s racing. This is a track we will look to return to before the end of our challenge.