Situated on Merseyside halfway between Liverpool and Manchester and slap-bang next to the M6, Haydock Park is one of the most popular courses in the country in terms of attendance. Although the turns are tight, the long steady straights mean that the course is considered one of the fairest in the country.
On the flat the highlight is the Haydock Sprint Cup, a Group 1 sprint over six furlongs that is run in early September. Other important flat races staged earlier in the summer include the Temple Stakes, Lancashire Oaks and the Rose of Lancaster Stakes.
The course also hosts high-quality National Hunt racing over the winter, when the jewel in the crown is the Grade 1 Betfair Chase run over three miles in November. The race often serves as the first clash between the established top chasers and younger horses in their second season over fences; its status is underlined by a roll of honour that includes Kauto Star, Imperial Commander, Cue Card and Silviniaco Conti.
Come in the summer and the variable entry pricing means you get a real cross-section of local society, including the Stag and Hen do’s.
Our last visit – April 2017
As luck would have it, the final day of the Conference Premier season meant I could watch a lunchtime game of football up the road at Southport and get to Haydock Park in time for the second race. This was the first of their TenSational events, ten Saturday racing events with DJ’s providing some post-racing tunes.
My first experience of the course was the beautiful tree-lined drive up the road to the entrance. My second was a large lady who told me her “flaps” were as sore as a B52 bomber. I have no idea why she decided to share such intimate information with me nor did I hang around for evidence. Welcome to Haydock Park. I saw former glamour model, Chelsea Ferguson, telling a chap she no longer “got them out for money” before pulling a wad of notes out of her purse and putting it all on a horse. Haydock Park is the place to people watch from one of the balconies. But I was here to win some money.
I resisted the urge to back Frankie Dettori’s only mount of the day, Afjaan, in the 2.40pm and of course it won at 3/1 nor did I see any real return from the 3.15pm by backing Maghfoor at 11/8. But in the next three, thanks to tips from 150 miles away from the youngest Fullers, I came away well up on the afternoon. First in the 3:45pm Downtown Kitten pulled off a shock at 12/1, then in the 4:20pm Sidewinder at 5/1 won with ease and finally a 20/1 e/w bet with London Glory.
Haydock Park is much more than just the racing, which isn’t half bad. The people, the locally-brewed beer and the excellent food. It is a course that prides itself on being something to everyone and in my book that makes it a must to visit.
Whats the track like?: Oval-shaped, about thirteen furlongs round, with a run-in of four and a half furlongs which rises throughout. Runners in races of seven furlongs and further tend to stick towards the far rail in the straight, though often switch nearer the stand side when the ground is testing. A good position when turning in is often important regardless of the ground. Sprints take place on the straight six-furlong course, with runners usually racing down the centre of the track. Views are almost unobstructed from the viewing area, especially those who are high up in the stands. The shady areas around the parade ring give an air of tranquility to proceedings.
Admission: Haydock Park caters for all types of racegoers with four different enclosures plus hospitality options to boot. The cheapest admission tickets are in the Newton Enclosure, or the Family section which is on the finishing straight where tickets start from £12.75 if booked in advance. The Tattersall’s, or Grandstand and Paddock entry costs £18 in advance or £22 on the day. County Enclosure tickets offer the private lawn and good views over the finishing line and start from £31.50 in advance or £35 on the day. Finally, the Premier Lounge offers the best views of the course from an elevated position but cost from £49.
Food & Drink: Loads of options as you can imagine ranging from the Moet & Chandon Champagne bar at the front of the County Enclosure to the Sports Bar underneath the Tattershall’s Enclosure. There’s a nice “village” set up behind the stands, accessible to all, which includes The Makersfield Lawn Marquee and stage. Some great food options too including and Hog and Hoof roast stalls. Local breweries often showcase their beers at the track. The Park Suite and Kauto Star restaurant provide some fine dining options.
Address: Haydock Park Racecourse, Newton-le-Willows, Merseyside WA12 0HQ
Directions: Another very easy racecourse to find, especially those coming by car. The racecourse is situated adjacent to the M6. On race days, anybody travelling from the South on the M6 should exit at Junction 23 and turn right onto the A580 East, the main entrance is on your left after half a mile. From the North of the M6 visitors should exit at Junction 23 and turn left onto the A580 East, the main entrance is on your left after half a mile, From the West and East, please use the A580 and follow the signs to Haydock Park or use the postcode WA3 3QP on your Sat Nav. There is plenty of free parking at the course.
The nearest train station to Haydock Park Racecourse is Newton-le-Willows, available on trains running from Manchester Piccadilly, Victoria and Oxford Road to Liverpool Lime Street. On the main London to Glagow line the nearest stations are Warrington Bank Quay and Wigan North Western which are both approximately 8 miles from the racecourse. On certain race days throughout the year we run a complimentary shuttle bus from Newton-le-Willows Station to the Racecourse a couple of hours prior to and after racing.
Visitors can travel to the racecourse by bus using the following services. The 620 (St Helens to Hindley Green via Ashton and Haydock) and the 320 (St Helens to Wigan via Ashton and Haydock). A ‘Peoplesbus’ Bus Service (the 520) will be running from Liverpool City Centre to Haydock Park on every Saturday raceday from January 2017. The bus service will use the pick up stop on St Johns Lane (next to St Johns Gardens/St Georges Hall) and the bus stop opposite the Showcase Cinema on the East Lancashire Road in Croxteth – Haydock bound, near the petrol station. The bus is registered to leave Liverpool ninety minutes before the first race. Fares start from £10 return for an adult, £7 for Children. The bus will depart from the Racecourse back to Liverpool fifteen minutes after the final race.
Hotels near-by: There are plenty of hotels within a 5-10 minute drive of the race track as well as the Holiday Inn which is located at the entrance of the drive. The Mercure Haydock is a ten minute walk away on the other side of the M6, accessed via the tunnel under the motorway. The Pied Bull is in Newton-le-Willows is just a five minute drive away and is a decent pub.