Date of Review: 23rd August 2022
Address: Bangor-on-Dee Racecourse, Bangor-Is-Y-Coed, Wrexham, LL13 0DA
Phone: 01244 304600.
Hotels & Accommodation Nearby: https://www.booking.com/landmark/gb/bangor-on-dee-racecourse.en-gb.html
Track Layout: (Image: credited & acknowledged to At The Races Ltd)
The track at Bangor is left-handed and fairly sharp, almost triangular in shape. Surface undulations are minor, and the fences are regarded as being pretty stiff. Races are well-run at Bangor-on-Dee, mainly because the horses are almost always on the turn.
Bangor-on-Dee Racecourse is a picturesque, if not idiosyncratic, left-handed jumps racecourse, nestled in the countryside and surrounded by idyllic Welsh hills. Bangor-on-Dee was first used for horse racing in 1859, and over a century and a half later, horses still race on virtually the exact same track. The first steeplechase meeting took place at Bangor on 25th February 1859. It has 14 jump racing fixtures per year. It has the honour of being the only horse racing track in the UK not to have a traditional grandstand. However, the overall viewing experience is still exceptionally good.
* Note: On the 1st February 2023 Bangor-on-Dee Racecourse was awarded Gold Standard status for 2022 by the Racehorse Owners Association, as part of the ROA Accreditation scheme.
The Racecourse Advisor Guide to Bangor-on-Dee Racecourse:
By Road: From the north, take the M6 onto the M56 and then onto the M53, following the signs for Wrexham. Take the A525 to Whitchurch. From the South and Midlands, take the M6 and the M54 (junction 3) and then the A41 to Whitchurch and the A525 towards Wrexham. The village of Bangor-on-Dee itself is not very well signed, and signs for the racecourse only appear when you are very close to the track. There are various ways to approach the track, which include taking numerous back roads or going through Wrexham industrial estate, depending on which sat-nav system you use.
By Rail: The nearest train station is Wrexham, which is four miles from the course. A free bus service will take racegoers to the course from the station on race days. The bus leaves the station 90 minutes before the first race. Rating: 6/10.
Parking: Parking and access to the course are excellent. Plenty of free parking is available on a large, flat field directly opposite the main racecourse entrance. Racegoers can erect gazebos out in the Course Enclosure. However, they are charged at £10 per gazebo. When departing, the exit at the rear of the field can also be used. However, gaining access to the car parking site can be slow, as punters are required to show or purchase their race day tickets to attendants as they enter the site. Hence, this can cause delays. Rating: 10/10.
Pricing: £10 entrance fee to the open racecourse (£7 if pre-booked) and £20.00 entrance fee to the paddock enclosure (£17 if pre-booked). Children are allowed in for free. An excellent, locally produced race card is available for £3 and contains a lot of useful information and statistics. Rating: 8/10.
Catering: As we both enjoy doing "racecourse reviews" and not restaurant reviews or pretending to be food critics, our aim is to just give you an overall idea of what culinary options are available at the track on race days.
The catering here is very good. There is the upmarket Paddock Restaurant, which costs £95 + VAT, and the Wynnstay Restaurant, for £55 + VAT, both of which have to be pre-booked. There are other numerous catering outlets, which include takeaway food such as fish & chips (notably with curry sauce being available) and burger & chips (£5.50) along with a coffee shop / van outlet. There is also a local ‘Whippy’ ice cream truck in attendance, however, once again, no banana - flavoured ice cream is available. Rating: 7/10.
Guinness Standard: £5.90 per pint. One of the lowest prices for a pint of Guinness so far, and it has to be said it was an excellent pint of Guinness! Rating: 9/10.
Viewing: The viewing of the races at this course is exceptionally good. This is due to the fact that all the facilities (parade ring, catering outlets, owners & trainers bar, weighing room etc.) are elevated above the racetrack itself by approximately 30ft. The horses actually enter and exit the parade ring by a chute, which takes them down to the track itself.
Due to this elevated position, the horses can be watched for virtually the whole duration of the race, regardless of their starting position. One of the track's main idiosyncrasies is that there is no traditional grandstand horizontal to the finishing post. There is a bank of land that is in line with the home straight and the finishing post, which is elevated above the track, where you can stand and view the races.
A lot of spectators watch the race from an elevated vantage point at the end of the track, which is head on to the winning post itself. There is a large TV screen in this position as well. The owners & trainers' bar, being on the elevated concourse level across from the parade ring and weighing room, is nowhere near the track or winning post, which again is strange. This is one of the best viewing experiences we have seen at any track, However, not having a grandstand of any description ensures the rating is low. Rating: 3/10.
Parade Ring / Winners Enclosure: This is located immediately in front of the weighing room, and the owners & trainers bar is adjacent to that on the main concourse of the racetrack. The parade ring has excellent viewing facilities, with seating stools at the front and raised wooden platforms at the back. Hence, superb viewing of the horse's both pre-and-post race is achieved. Rating: 8/10.
Bookmakers / Betting Facilities: There are more than ample Tote betting facilities all around the course. The main betting ring is at the side of the parade ring and has approximately 25 bookmaker’s pitches, which is quite a lot these days. Rating: 8/10.
Friendliness of Course Staff: Very friendly and helpful staff located at numerous points around the track who always seem to have the time for a chat or to offer information and advice. Rating: 10/10
Pros & Cons: Not an easily located or easily accessible racecourse that is some distance from the motorway(s). It is relatively easy to find but not exceptionally well signed, it has to be said. Average pricing with excellent parking. The catering facilities are very good, along with a great parade ring / winner's enclosure.
There are a number of public picnic areas available for families located around the track. Further to this, the overall facilities are modern and up-to-date, with the main bar being air-conditioned. The viewing of the races is superb even without the track having a grandstand due to the track being in a low position below the concourse and facilities. The track favours horses that race prominently, as they are constantly on the turn for the duration of most races. Rating: 8/10
VIP Watch: No VIPs of any note were seen on the day.
Overall Dave & Ray Rating: 7.6/10.
The full day's racing results can be found here: https://www.sportinglife.com/racing/meeting/2022-08-23/bangor-on-dee/92734
Aerial View of Bangor-on-Dee Racecourse: (Image: credited & acknowledged to Google Earth)
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