Welcome to our guide to Wincanton Racecourse. We explore this great jump racing racecourse in detail, looking at its history, hotel picks, fixtures, travel information, betting guides and even the weather!
- 1 Overview of Wincanton Races
- 2 The Racecourse History
- 3 The Main Races and Events Held at The Track
- 4 Racecourse Address
- 5 How To Get To Wincanton Racecourse
- 6 Hotels Near Wincanton Racecourse
- 7 Betting Shops Local to Wincanton Racecourse
- 8 Other Events Held at The Track
- 9 Wincanton Weather Forecast
- 10 Summary of Wincanton Races
- 11 Other Racecourses in the UK and Ireland
Overview of Wincanton Races
A National Hunt course that many haven’t heard of, Wincanton Racecourse offers a high standard of horseracing but is frequently overlooked simply because of its size.
Situated surrounded by beautiful Somerset countryside, Wincanton Racecourse is located just a kilometre north of the small town of Wincanton. The town itself has a population of less than 6,000 people, so on race days it doubles in size! Wincanton is located on the northeast edge of the Blackmore Vale and is approximately 12 miles northwest of Yeovil and 10 miles northeast of Shaftesbury.
Wincanton Racecourse is a National Hunt course and hosts 17 Jump racing fixtures across the winter from October to May annually.
The track itself is right-handed, flat and sharp. When the ground is firmer than good, it’s one of the sharpest courses in the UK. The fences are notoriously close together as well, with the final three so close together that they claim casualties. The course is two miles long but and jockeys are careful of positioning as if someone else poaches the lead, it can work in their favour.
The races held at Wincanton Racecourse are almost entirely dominated by trainer Paul Nicholls, whose training yard is situated nearby. Paul’s career has been extremely successful, with 100+ wins as a National Hunt jockey and 3000+ wins as a National Hunt trainer. Many of Nicholls’ young horses run regularly at Wincanton.
Wincanton Racecourse is owned and operated by The Jockey Club, who have expanded the venue into a successful business, conferencing and hospitality venue that caters for wedding receptions, occasion parties, meetings and conferences.
The Racecourse History
For a racecourse so few people have heard of, Wincanton Racecourse has an impressive history!
National Hunt racing at Wincanton dates back to 1867, when the local community hosted what is widely believed to be the first ever National Hunt steeplechase.
Not long after, the Wincanton Racing Committee was set up and rules formalised, with a fixture list developed. It ran successfully until the First World War, but hit financial difficulties after having to close during this period. It didn’t re-open again until 1920, when local Lord Stalbridge invested into the venue and formed a new committee – with himself as the head. A whole new course was constructed and opened in 1927 to encouraging crowds.
By the time the site closed for World War II, Lord Stalbridge’s health was declining quite rapidly; and local racing fans didn’t want to see the racecourse go under. As soon as the military had handed the venue back, locals pooled their money to purchase and re-open the course. Lord Stalbridge died the same year, 1945, and is still honoured annually with a race.
In the 1960s, Wincanton Racecourse was sold to The Jockey Club, who have developed and nurtured the venue to where it is today.
The Main Races and Events Held at The Track
Wincanton low profile – at least with those not in the know, is far from deserved – as it hosts several notable National Hunt races each year. The main event is undoubtedly the Grade 2 Kingwell Hurdle race, open to horses of four years and older and run over the full two miles of the track. It has been won by many great jockey & trainer combos over the years. The event attracts many racegoers and industry ‘bods’ as an important precursor to the Champion Hurdle held the month after at Cheltenham. In November, the longer Badgers Beer Silver Trophy is run over three miles one furlong with 21 fences to jump. As expected, trainer Paul Nicholls had dominated this event over recent years.
How To Get To Wincanton Racecourse
The easiest ways to get the course are below:
- By road – Wincanton Racecourse is set in a very rural area and whilst it is easily reached by road, they are country roads and do get congested on race days – so it’s always advised to arrive early to avoid delays. The main course car park is free of charge, or racegoers can choose to pay and park along the railings to get a little closer to the action. Unusually for rural England, the postcode works perfectly in sat nat systems… but there’s not much else around – the postcode for your sat nav is BA9 8BJ
- By bus – Wincanton is not served by regular buses.
- By rail – the nearest rail station is Templecombe, which is served by free shuttle buses on race days. Other stations in the area include Castle Cary and Bruton, but if arriving at these stations, you’ll need to take a taxi onward (and it’s worth booking one in advance to be sure!).
Hotels Near Wincanton Racecourse
As you can imagine, Wincanton isn’t surrounded by hotels, but there are accommodation options around. The Travelodge Wincanton is the most central to the town and offers budget no-frills rooms. Also in the town centre is The Dolphin Hotel and The Bear Inn. A short drive away from the town reveals lots of country hotel options including The Hunter’s Lodge Inn at Leigh Common, The Church Lawn at Stourton and Lodbourne Farmhouse in Gillingham. For the best availability and great rates we often advise booking through Booking.com as below:
Betting Shops Local to Wincanton Racecourse
Tote betting kiosks are available throughout Wincanton Racecourse, and there’s a branch of William Hill in the Badger Grandstand. Independent bookmakers with varying odds can be found at the side of the track, and Wincanton recommend several online betting companies – but as the mobile signal isn’t great, they offer free Wi-Fi throughout.
Wincanton town does have a betting shop: the independent Fernedge Bookmakers. However, you won’t find any mainstream betting shop brands for
Other Events Held at The Track
Other events at Wincanton Racecourse include the Elite Hurdle and the Rising Stars Novice’s Chase, which started life at Chepstow before being extended and moved to Wincanton.
Wincanton Racecourse also plays host to lots of private events in its hospitality suite, including wedding receptions and big birthday parties!
Wincanton Weather Forecast
Punters and race-goers love to keep up with the weather to predict going conditions, as well as making sure what they wear is suitable. Here’s the current weather forecast for Wincanton:
Summary of Wincanton Races
It may only be a small racecourse and not one that is well known by people not in the industry (or local) but the Jockey Club owned Wincanton packs a punch. It is a great little course which hosts top-quality races and has high-horses competing throughout the year. It is often used a springboard by big trainers for their young talent. With a friendly and welcoming atmosphere, great customer service and in a stunning part of England, what is there not to love? Definitely worth a visit.
Other Racecourses in the UK and Ireland
Our team as of September 2020 have reviewed the other following racecourses, all of them definitely worth a visit:
- Aintree Racecourse Guide
- Ascot Racecourse Guide
- Ayr Racecourse Guide
- Bangor on Dee Racecourse Guide
- Bath Racecourse Guide
- Beverley Racecourse Guide
- Brighton Racecourse Guide
- Carlisle Racecourse Guide
- Cartmel Racecourse Guide
- Catterick Racecourse Guide
- Chelmsford City Racecourse Guide
- Cheltenham Racecourse Guide
- Chepstow Racecourse Guide
- Chester Racecourse Guide
- Curragh Racecourse Guide
- Doncaster Racecourse Guide
- Downpatrick Racecourse Guide
- Dundalk Racecourse Guide
- Epsom Racecourse Guide
- Exeter Racecourse Guide
- Fakenham Racecourse Guide
- Ffos Las Racecourse Guide
- Fontwell Racecourse Guide
- Galway Racecourse Guide
- Goodwood Racecourse Guide
- Great Yarmouth Racecourse Guide
- Hamilton Racecourse Guide
- Haydock Racecourse Guide
- Hereford Racecourse Guide
- Hexham Racecourse Guide
- Huntingdon Racecourse Guide
- Kelso Racecourse Guide
- Kempton Park Racecourse Guide
- Leicester Racecourse Guide
- Leopardstown Racecourse Guide
- Lingfield Park Racecourse Guide
- Ludlow Racecourse Guide
- Market Rasen Racecourse Guide
- Musselburgh Racecourse Guide
- Naas Racecourse Guide
- Navan Racecourse Guide
- Newbury Racecourse Guide
- Newcastle Racecourse Guide
- Newmarket Racecourse Guide
- Newton Abbot Racecourse Guide
- Nottingham Racecourse Guide
- Perth Racecourse Guide
- Plumpton Racecourse Guide
- Pontefract Racecourse Guide
- Redcar Racecourse Guide
- Ripon Racecourse Guide
- Salisbury Racecourse Guide
- Sandown Racecourse Guide
- Sedgefield Racecourse Guide
- Southwell Racecourse Guide
- Stratford Racecourse Guide
- Taunton Racecourse Guide
- Thirsk Racecourse Guide
- Towcester Racecourse
- Uttoxeter Racecourse Guide
- Warwick Racecourse Guide
- Wetherby Racecourse Guide
- Wincanton Racecourse Guide
- Windsor Racecourse Guide
- Wolverhampton Racecourse Guide
- Worcester Racecourse Guide
- York Racecourse Guide