How many racecourses are there in Scotland?
Scotland is home to a total of five racecourses, one of which caters exclusively for Flat racing, two of which cater exclusively for National Hunt racing and two of which are dual-purpose.
Starting with the furthest north – indeed, the northernmost in Britain – Perth Racecourse is a National Hunt-only venue situated in Scone Palace Park, less than 4 miles north of the city of Perth in central Scotland and less than 50 miles north of the Scottish capital, Edinburgh. Founded in 1908, Perth stages 14 National Hunt fixtures annually and the seasonal highlight is the City of Perth Gold Cup, a handicap chase run over 3 miles in June.
Moving further south, 60 miles or so, into East Lothian in the Central Lowlands of Scotland, Musselburgh Racecourse – formerly Edinburgh Racecourse – is a dual-purpose venue situated approximately 7 miles east of the Scottish capital on the Firth of Forth. The first record meeting at Musselburgh was staged in 1816 and, nowadays, the most valuable race of the year is the Queen’s Cup, staged over 1 mile 6 furlongs, in April.
Heading west, approximately 50 miles, into South Lanarkshire, Hamilton Park Racecourse is a Flat-only venue situated on the northern outskirts of the town of Hamilton, less than15 miles from central Glasgow. Racing was first staged in Hamilton in 1782 and, nowadays, notable races include the Scottish Stewards’ Cup in July and the historic Lanark Silver Bell Handicap, reinstated in 2008, in August.
Moving southeast, 75 miles or so, into the Scottish Borders, Kelso Racecourse is another National Hunt-only venue in Roxburghshire, less than 45 miles southeast of Edinburgh. Founded, in its current location, in 1822, Kelso is billed as ‘Britain’s Friendliest Racecourse’ and its principal race of the season is the Premier Kelso Hurdle, a Grade Two event, run over 2 miles and 2 furlongs in February or March.
Heading west again, just over 100 miles, in to Ayrshire, Ayr Racecourse is a dual-purpose venue and, in fact, the only Grade One track in Scotland. Ayr opened, in its current location, in 1907 and is, nowadays, best known for the Ayr Gold Cup in September and the Scottish Grand National – transferred to Ayr following the closure of Bogside Racecourse in 1965 – in April.