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  1. #1
    @hibs.net private member Lancs Harp's Avatar
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    Horse racing in Scotland

    I would say I'm more of a casual horse racing fan but dont mind the odd day out at the races. Never been on a Scottish course. Am I right in saying there are 5 courses, Kelso, Ayr, Musselburgh, Hamilton and Perth?

    Any recommendations as to which offers the best day out, best racing etc etc?


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  3. #2
    @hibs.net private member 3pm's Avatar
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    Musselburgh is good mate.

    (Depends who is posting of course....)

  4. #3
    Coaching Staff HUTCHYHIBBY's Avatar
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    Perths April Meeting (especially in good weather) is always worth a visit. Tends to draw a few runners from the big Southern/Irish trainers.

    Never been to Kelso but, all the others have their good points.

    Ayr/Mussy - flat/jumps
    Kelso/Perth - jumps only
    Hamilton - flat only
    Last edited by HUTCHYHIBBY; 22-03-2018 at 08:44 PM.

  5. #4
    Each of them is very different from the others, so a best, or favourite kind of boils down to the one you like the most.

    Ayr (Flat Summer, Jumps Winter)
    Biggest course in Scotland capacity wise with arguably the highest quality at the Scottish National meet (jumps) and the Ayr Gold Cup meet (Flat). Drawback to these are they are absolutely mobbed, even the premier enclosures, with plenty of people just there for a day on the lash. Midweek or minor fixtures and you have few punters rattling around in a big arena with little or no atmosphere.

    Perth (Summer Jumps)
    Allegedly within one hours travel from Aberdeen, Inverness, Dundee, Glasgow and Edinburgh so the bigger meetings, usually at the weekends, attract busloads from all over Scotland. One enclosure here, and also at some meets you can park in the centre and picnic although this wont give you access to the parade ring etc. As someone mentioned before, you can often see very high class horses here from Britain and Ireland as their trainers try to get a run or two into them during the summer. Weekend meets busy, midweek can be very pleasant, especially when the weather is nice. Also some evening meets with music etc.

    Kelso (Winter Jumps)
    About an hour from Edinburgh but feels like a different world out in the border countryside. Small course with old world feel having stone buildings with log fires, corrugated iron 'chicken shed bar and a new brick grandstand with bar and fast food cafe. Members enclosure normally a couple of quid on top but gives you access to extra bars and rooftop viewing. Some good quality meets including the Morebattle Hurdle (Thurs in Feb) and the Premier Chase meet which usually attracts Grand National hopefuls. Often an interesting mix with city people, border folk and a few busloads up from Newcastle and the north of England.

    Hamilton (Summer Flat)
    'Frying Pan' track where for the longer races horses run the wrong way down the course, circle round the 'frying pan' and finish back up the straight in front of the stands. Not the highest quality racing normally but a very well presented facility with nice bars and good viewing areas. They have evening meets with music on afterwards. One enclosure here as well.

    Musselburgh (Flat Summer, Jumps Winter)
    One enclosure again and you can watch either from the Grandstand or a stepped viewing area alongside the track. Good quality racing throughout the year including the Cheltenham Trials Meeting over Jumps and the Scottish Sprint Cup on the Flat. Ladies Day is always well attended but probably not a meeting for the racing purist, especially with the Derby on the same day. Has got expensive over the last couple of years with hefty rises in food drink and admission costs but still well run and a good friendly vibe at the moment. This may change in the near future with serious issues with the racecourse staff, the local Council and The BHA. Hopefully all will be resolved.

    My order would be Kelso, Perth, Musselburgh, Hamilton, Ayr but could totally understand any permutation of the five.
    Also, Hexham is a great place to go if its not chucking it down, and I'm hoping to get to a meet at Cartmel this year.

  6. #5
    Coaching Staff heretoday's Avatar
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    They used to have racing at Lanark I think.

  7. #6
    Testimonial Due Geo_1875's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heretoday View Post
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    They used to have racing at Lanark I think.
    Closed in 1977

  8. #7
    For something a bit different there are a few decent point to point meetings in Scotland as well.

    Lanarkshire & Renfrewshire Hunt are running there's this weekend at Crossford. Lauderdale and Buccleuch run in April and May respectively whilst Jed Forest and Friars Haugh run earlier in the year. Friars Haugh run literally minutes from the centre of Kelso.

    You can still get a bet, a pint, a bite to eat and so on but you can get really close to the action and there are few finer sights than seeing a thoroughbred wing a fence from 5 yards away.

  9. #8
    @hibs.net private member Lancs Harp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magnus View Post
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    Each of them is very different from the others, so a best, or favourite kind of boils down to the one you like the most.

    Ayr (Flat Summer, Jumps Winter)
    Biggest course in Scotland capacity wise with arguably the highest quality at the Scottish National meet (jumps) and the Ayr Gold Cup meet (Flat). Drawback to these are they are absolutely mobbed, even the premier enclosures, with plenty of people just there for a day on the lash. Midweek or minor fixtures and you have few punters rattling around in a big arena with little or no atmosphere.

    Perth (Summer Jumps)
    Allegedly within one hours travel from Aberdeen, Inverness, Dundee, Glasgow and Edinburgh so the bigger meetings, usually at the weekends, attract busloads from all over Scotland. One enclosure here, and also at some meets you can park in the centre and picnic although this wont give you access to the parade ring etc. As someone mentioned before, you can often see very high class horses here from Britain and Ireland as their trainers try to get a run or two into them during the summer. Weekend meets busy, midweek can be very pleasant, especially when the weather is nice. Also some evening meets with music etc.

    Kelso (Winter Jumps)
    About an hour from Edinburgh but feels like a different world out in the border countryside. Small course with old world feel having stone buildings with log fires, corrugated iron 'chicken shed bar and a new brick grandstand with bar and fast food cafe. Members enclosure normally a couple of quid on top but gives you access to extra bars and rooftop viewing. Some good quality meets including the Morebattle Hurdle (Thurs in Feb) and the Premier Chase meet which usually attracts Grand National hopefuls. Often an interesting mix with city people, border folk and a few busloads up from Newcastle and the north of England.

    Hamilton (Summer Flat)
    'Frying Pan' track where for the longer races horses run the wrong way down the course, circle round the 'frying pan' and finish back up the straight in front of the stands. Not the highest quality racing normally but a very well presented facility with nice bars and good viewing areas. They have evening meets with music on afterwards. One enclosure here as well.

    Musselburgh (Flat Summer, Jumps Winter)
    One enclosure again and you can watch either from the Grandstand or a stepped viewing area alongside the track. Good quality racing throughout the year including the Cheltenham Trials Meeting over Jumps and the Scottish Sprint Cup on the Flat. Ladies Day is always well attended but probably not a meeting for the racing purist, especially with the Derby on the same day. Has got expensive over the last couple of years with hefty rises in food drink and admission costs but still well run and a good friendly vibe at the moment. This may change in the near future with serious issues with the racecourse staff, the local Council and The BHA. Hopefully all will be resolved.

    My order would be Kelso, Perth, Musselburgh, Hamilton, Ayr but could totally understand any permutation of the five.
    Also, Hexham is a great place to go if its not chucking it down, and I'm hoping to get to a meet at Cartmel this year.
    Thanks for the replies fellas especially Magnus's magnificent effort!! I think a trip in the next year is on the cards. I've done a few courses in England, Newbury (lived there for 13 years), Epsom, Haydock, Chester and Uttoxeter. Its not something I'd do every week but once or twice a year or so I've fully enjoyed it.

  10. #9
    @hibs.net private member lord bunberry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lancs Harp View Post
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    Thanks for the replies fellas especially Magnus's magnificent effort!! I think a trip in the next year is on the cards. I've done a few courses in England, Newbury (lived there for 13 years), Epsom, Haydock, Chester and Uttoxeter. Its not something I'd do every week but once or twice a year or so I've fully enjoyed it.
    In laymanís terms mate. Musselburgh is without doubt the best course in Scotland for your average racing fan. Avoid ladies day like the plague though. Perth is fabulous no matter what meeting you go to. Ayr is stuck in a time warp, but excellent on the big meetings.
    Hamilton and Kelso are hit and miss for me.

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  11. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by lord bunberry View Post
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    In laymanís terms mate. Musselburgh is without doubt the best course in Scotland for your average racing fan. Avoid ladies day like the plague though. Perth is fabulous no matter what meeting you go to. Ayr is stuck in a time warp, but excellent on the big meetings.
    Hamilton and Kelso are hit and miss for me.
    The Saints and Sinners evening at Hamilton has always been a really well-attended event, and the local people get right behind it too. I love evening meetings at Hamilton, there's always a good atmosphere IMO. Musselburgh's alright but I agree Ayr needs a lot more work done to it. From a personal perspective the best racetrack I've been to in the UK in terms of enjoyment was Sandown. Always good racing, good facilities and one or two good boozers nearby too.

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