Worcester Racecourse Guide

Overview

Part of the Arena Racing Group, Worcester Racecourse is one of the most historic racing grounds in the UK. Specialising in National Hunt races since the mid-1960s, Worcester offers jump courses throughout the summer – a period usually reserved for flat racing.

Known to locals as Pitchcroft, the Worcester Racecourse is a jewel in the crown of the city that bears its name. Worcester differs from many locales in the UK in that it offers National Hunt courses throughout the summer.

This is a matter of geography. Pitchcroft is unable to operate during the traditional jumping season as it’s based so close to the River Severn. When the banks of this river burst, the course is at risk of flooding. This exact issue occurred during an inclement summer of 2007, which led to that season’s post-June fixtures being cancelled. Naturally, the risk becomes considerably more pronounced in the winter.

The track itself is a left-handed oval, covering 13 furlongs. Competing horses will need to clear nine fences to clear the track. Pitchcroft has a stellar reputation among riders and trainers, who often use the course to improve the performance of novice hurdlers as the ground is pleasingly flat. This means that every meet at the venue boasts a large field of competitors, and is frequently the home of tense, nervous finishes.

This makes Worcester a great location for racing newcomers and equestrian experts alike. If you’re just looking for a fun day at the races, Pitchcroft will provide this in spades. If you’re keen to talent scout leading horses of the future, however, many famous nags made their first impression upon this very course.

Worcester Racecourse is owned by Arena Racing Group, so it follows a similar dress code to many tracks throughout the country. Smart-casual is typically the way to go, unless you’ll be rubbing shoulders with particularly prestigious company. If you have any doubts at all as to appropriate attire, it’s always advisable to check in advance of travelling.

History

Worcester Racecourse has a rich and varied history, dating back to 1718. This makes it one of the oldest consistent racecourses in the UK, though the 100-acre territory has previously hosted other sporting events too. These include football, rugby and even bare-knuckle boxing.

From its origin until 1966, Pitchcroft was also a flat racing circuit. In its formative years, the venue was host to such prestigious events as the Worcester Stakes and Worcester Gold Cup. In 1965, none other than the Princess Royal completed a victorious ride.

The gradual shift to National Hunt racing was inspired by the shift in the track’s shape to an oval, which commenced in the late 19th Century. Flat riders grew increasingly displeased with these changes, leading to a gradual decline in the quality of racing. National Hunt and flat races were combined until the latter was fully phased out.

The Arena Racing Group took ownership of the racetrack in 2000, expanding the fixture list and making Pitchcroft a major player in the summer racing calendar.

Main Races and Meetings

With National Hunt events running from May until October, Worcester Racecourse crams over twenty events into its season. While the track is not home to any particularly notable races or competitions, it remains a bustling and busy venue with multiple specialist events.

A typical annual fixture list for Worcester Racecourse will resemble:

  • May – One afternoon race meet, one evening race meet.
  • June – Ladies Day, Family Fun Day for Father’s Day, an additional afternoon race meet and one evening race meet.
  • July – Three afternoon race meets, two evening race meets.
  • August – Family Fun Day, one afternoon race meet, one evening race meet.
  • September – Three afternoon race meets, one evening race meet (often declared Irish Racenight.)
  • October – Two afternoon race meets.

These dates may shift slightly, depending on weather and the foibles of the annual calendar. Always consult a live fixture list, ideally one provided by the racecourse directly or Arena Racing Group.

Remember, all of these events are National Hunt racing. This is a rarity during the summer months, making Worcester Racecourse one of very few venues able to offer such a spectacle.

Address

The official correspondence address of Worcester Racecourse is:

Grand Stand Road
Worcester
Worcestershire
WR1 3EJ

How to Get There

One of the great selling points of this racecourse is its close proximity to the heart of Worcester. This makes attending a day at the races exceedingly simple, whether arriving by car or rail.

If driving to Worcester Racecourse, leave the M5 at the North or South junction and join the A449 toward Worcester City Centre. From here, you have the choice of the A443 or the A44. Both will bring you to Worcester, and signage will guide you the rest of the way.

There are also two railways stations in Worcester, both of which have strong links to major cities throughout the UK. Worcester Foregate Street is closest, based a short 10-minute walk from the racetrack. Alternatively, head to Worcester Shrubhill, which is a 20-minute stroll or five minutes in a taxi.

Hotels

You should never struggle to find a hotel to accommodate an overnight stay at the Worcester Racetrack. There are no less than five reputable hotels located within a mile of the course – many of which are even closer. The hotels in question are:

In the unlikely event of all of these accommodations being booked, just search for a B&B in the surrounding area. As long as you stay comparatively close to Worcester, you’ll always have easy access to the racecourse.

Other Events at the Course

Like most Arena Racing Group courses, Worcester Racecourse hosts a number of post-raceday musical extravaganzas. These run throughout the season, though particular events such as Ladies Day will always be accompanied by further entertainment.

In addition, Worcester Racetrack remains available for private hire all year around. It’s a very popular destination for private parties and corporate events, in addition to weddings and Christmas parties.

Other racecourses

Our team as of May 2020 have reviewed these racecourses that you can also bet on: