How many racecourses are there in Scotland?

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.

What is the wooden spoon?

What is the wooden spoon? The wooden spoon is figurative booby prize awarded, in good-natured ridicule, to the team that finishes bottom of the table in the annual Six Nations rugby tournament. Historically, a real, physical wooden spoon was presented to the student who achieved the lowest mark in the final honours degree examinations, known as tripos, in mathematics at Cambridge University, but still earned a third-class degree. The last such spoon was awarded at Cambridge University in 1909, but 15 years earlier, the ‘South Wales Daily Post’ had already used the term, in the correct sense, in connection with rugby union.

The Six Nations began life as the Home Nations Championship – as the name suggests, featuring just England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales – in 1883. Since then, Ireland has won the wooden spoon 29 times, followed by Scotland on 21, England on 19 and Wales on 16. The Home Nations Championship became the Five Nations Championship between 1910-1931 and 1947-1999, with the addition of France, and the Six Nations Championship from 2000 onwards, with the addition of Italy. France has won the wooden spoon 12 times, but Italy has already finished bottom of the table in 13 of its 19 appearances.

How many runs can be scored off a single delivery?

How many runs can be scored off a single delivery? Generally speaking, the maximum number of runs that can be scored off a single delivery is six, achieved by hitting the ball over the boundary on the full. However, legend has it that in a match between Western Australia and Victoria in 1894 the ball became lodged in a tree, in sight, but out of reach, and the batsmen completed 286 runs while it was being recovered. More plausible, perhaps, is the 17 runs scored off a single ball by Garry Chapman for Banyule against Macleod in a Grade cricket match at Windsor Park, Victoria, in 1989, when the ball was lost in long grass in the outfield.

Chapman is recognised by Guinness World Records, but in first-class cricket, even Test cricket, instances of eight, nine or ten runs off a single legal delivery are not unknown. In the Test match between Australia and New Zealand in Brisbane in 2008, for example, Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds scored four off the bat, all run, plus four overthrows for a total of eight runs. In 1842, in a first-class match between Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and Cambridge University, the Hon. Frederick George Brabazon ‘Fred’ Ponsonby scored nine, all run, off a single delivery on the vast expanse of Parker’s Piece, Cambridge. Ten runs off a single delivery has happened a couple of times in first-class cricket and was recorded most recently by Samuel Hill-Wood for Derbyshire against MCC at Lord’s in 1900.

In 2003, Yorkshire fast bowler Ryan Sidebottom did, effectively, concede 11 runs off a single legal delivery in a first-class match against Glamorgan, but bowled five consecutive wides before being hit for six and retiring hurt.

Can jockeys still remount?

Can jockeys still remount? Historically, jockeys could, and frequently did, remount horses that fell, unseated rider or refused during races, in order to complete the course and collect prize money. Sir Anthony McCoy, for example, famously remounted odds-on favourite, Family Business, to finish alone and win a race at Southwell in January, 2003, in which all seven starters failed to complete the course unscathed.

However, since November, 2009, when the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) introduced new safety rules, jockeys are not allowed to remount horses after the start of a race. Jockeys may remount, with the permission of the racecourse doctor or veterinary surgery, if they are unseated during the preliminaries but, once the race is underway, may only remount, with permission, for the purpose of riding back to the unsaddling enclosure.

Of course, the rule change introduced the possibility of races being declared void in the event of no finishers. Indeed, that eventually famously happened for the first time in a novices’ chase at Towcester in March, 2011; two of four the runners fell at one fence early on in the race and, at the same fence on the second circuit, the favourite refused and unseated his rider, hampering the only remaining runner so badly that he, too, unseated his rider.

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