Thursday’s meetings are at Brighton, Haydock, Yarmouth, Newcastle, Sandown, Leopardstown and Sligo. The big race at Leopardstown is the G3 Ballyroan Stakes (7:20pm), featuring some very big names including Johannes Vermeer and the The Grey Gatsby. There are also 7 races at Wolverhampton, beginning with a contest for 2-year-olds at 6:00pm.
Racing At Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton is different than most UK racecourses. It is mostly used for evening racing and is fully floodlit. Wolverhampton was a pioneer of night racing and was the first UK course to hold races at such a late hour.
The surface is synthetic and referred to as a polytrack course. A polytrack surface is used to replace traditional turf (soil and grass). It is designed to offer much faster drainage than a normal track. It also remains less-affected by cold temperatures. This means that less meetings need to be cancelled, due to poor weather.
Many of the more successful trainers have installed smaller polytracks, at their own premises and the surfaces have also been introduced into some equestrian centres.
Synthetic surfaces have been used in racing, since the mid-1960s. Tartan turf, which has many similarities to Astroturf, was used at the Tropical Park venue. It was not a success. As with sports pitches, it took years of development, before a satisfactory material was produced.
The Wolverhampton track is just over sixteen hundred metres, in length. It is a left-handed course – something that is more common with American tracks. The racing at Wolverhampton does have some similarities to US horse racing. Races are short and fast. A good draw and a quick exit from the gates are key to a successful ride, unless there is a big disparity in the class of the horses running.
While the current course is very much a modern facility, racing has been held in Wolverhampton, since the early part of the nineteenth-century. Some time later, the venue was relocated from West Park to Dunstall Park and has remained there, ever since.
1993 saw a major redevelopment and this is when Wolverhampton racecourse became a floodlit all-weather venue. Further facilities were added, including a hotel, corporate suites, an improved grandstand for spectators and a restaurant. The polytrack has only been at Wolverhampton since 2004 – previously, fibresand was used.
Further plans include a major extension of the hotel (providing over one hundred additional rooms) and the building of an on-course casino.
The expansion and modernisation of Wolverhampton racecourse has enabled the owners to offer it as a venue for a huge plethora of uses. This includes weddings, business conferences and meetings, exhibitions and fairs, private parties, high school proms and charity fund-raising events.
Wolverhampton racecourse is involved with a number of community projects, across the Black Country. They regularly hold fundraising events for the Compton Hospice, which helps patients with very serious illnesses. The Promise Dreams charity is another beneficiary of the racecourse.
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