There are 5 meetings to look forward to, on Thursday. Action will take place at Yarmouth, Doncaster, Newbury and Sandown (where the Listed Star Stakes tops the bill, at 3:05pm – William Buick will be on-board the unbeaten Cape Bunting). A further 8 races will be run at Worcester and a 2m 7f handicap chase gets the ball rolling, at 1:50pm.
Racing At Worcester
Horse racing has been going on since 1718, at this historic venue. The locals refer to the racecourse as ‘Pitchcroft’. It is one of the smaller courses in Great Britain, being only 100 acres in size.
The track is 13 furlongs in length and sits on the banks of the River Severn. It can be prone to flooding and suffered severe damage during the sustained deluge of 2007. The racecourse acts as a floodplain and when levels get very bad, you could find yourself standing in 3 feet of water at any point on the property!
One of the main reasons that this course sits on such a small piece of land is it’s proximity to the city. You only have to walk half a mile from the city centre, before you reach the perimeter of the track.
Times Of Attrition
The name Pitchcroft comes from when the site was used as a recruiting ground for soldiers, during the English Civil War. A heavily fortified city, Worcester regularly came under attack. Nobody was safe when this happened and even Royal Family members, such as Prince Maurice and Prince Rupert, were at one point made to scurry towards the centre of the city and into hiding.
The grounds were also used to stage prize-fights. Back in 1824, Jack Langan and Tom Spring fought each other in front of a flood-drenched crowd of over 40,000 people. The spectators were soon back in their homes with their feet up against the fire, as Langan was knocked out in less than a minute and a half!
The building of a railway station, along with an additional spur that took passengers within a few yards of entrance, massively contributed to the success of Worcester Racecourse.
This used to be a flat racing venue, although that branch of the sport was abandoned in the 1960s. It is now a National Hunt facility, which also holds Summer meetings. This is a very nice little course and well worth a visit, if a sunny day has been predicted. There aren’t too many very important races held here, but a day out at Worcester Racecourse is usually an enjoyable one. Admission is cheap and you should not have any problem parking, despite how close this course is to the city centre.
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