Date of Review: 17th August 2023.
RCA Reviewer: The Apprentice
Address: York Road, Beverley, East Yorkshire, HU17 8QZ.
Phone: 01482 867488
Track Layout: (acknowledged & credited to At The Races)
Course Information: Beverley Racecourse is a right-handed, galloping track of 1-mile 3 furlongs, with both the top and bottom bends being sharp. The backstraight is downhill and the home straight uphill. It is one of the stiffest 5-furlong run-ins in the country. It is uphill all the way home and also has an additional camber, sloping down towards the stand rails, making it a test of stamina and speed over shorter distances.
The home straight – Beverley Racecourse
For these reasons, it is considered to be the most draw-dependent 5-furlong sprint track in the country. On good ground, horses that are drawn low to middle are deemed to hold a significant advantage racing against the far rail, which also has a dog-leg to the right, half way up the straight. On soft or heavy ground, they normally race up along the stand rail.
Racing in Beverley dates back to 1690 and racing at the current location of Westwood Pasture was established and the first 3-day annual meeting took place in 1767. The town had a number of racing stables, and horses were galloped on the pasture opposite the course, and that gallop can still be seen and followed by walkers even today. During this year, the first grandstand was built at a cost of £1,000, which was funded by money raised from the sale of 300 silver admission tickets, which offered free entrance to the course for life for those who subscribed.
In 1813, Squire Watt of the nearby Bishop Burton bred and trained four St. Leger winners, including Altisidora, after which the village pub is still named. The idiosyncratic nature of the course inevitably means it attracts its share of “course specialists” none more so than Rapid Lad, who won here 12 times starting in 1983 but never won anywhere else. A bar on the course is named in his memory.
In 2003, the Mark Johnston trained filly Attraction won the Hilary Needler listed race here before going on to win the English and Irish 1000 Guineas the following year.
Over the last 5 years, plans were developed to replace the grandstand; however, ultimately, a decision was taken to upgrade the existing facilities as well as build the new stables. The course is owned by Beverley Racing Co a not-for-profit organisation that continues to invest in and develop the course further.
The Racecourse Advisor Guide to Beverley Racecourse:
By Road: The racecourse is easily accessible by road, mainly via the M62. Exit at Junction 37 and follow the A614 / A163 to Market Weighton. If at all possible, avoid the town centre; it’s a one-way system which gets very busy on race days. The course is well signposted to avoid this.
By Rail: There are good train services running to Beverley Racecourse, which is located less than two miles from the railway station. Services operate from Hull, Leeds, and York to Beverley station, with trains running every 25 minutes. The one-way system means that most racegoers choose to walk through the town and up to the course on the very pleasant Westwood Pasture.
By Air: The nearest airport to the racecourse is Humberside, which is approximately 20 miles away. Leeds / Bradford airport is around 50 miles away. Landing facilities for helicopters are available but need to be booked in advance with the course. Rating: 7/10.
Parking: Free car parking is available on the grass at Westwood, which is directly opposite the main entrance. Racegoers can take their cars into the course enclosure in the middle of the track if they so wish, but at a cost of £7.00, and it has to be booked in advance. Parking for a minibus or motorhome in the same enclosure is £12.00. Disabled parking is available in both car parks. Rating: 8/10.
Pricing: The racecourse has three enclosures: the Premier Enclosure, the Grandstand, and the Course Enclosure, which is a grassed area in the centre of the course. On the day of our visit, admission to the Premier Enclosure was £24 and admission to the Grandstand is £16. Concessions are available for students and those over 65 at a cost of £12.00. Access to the Course Enclosure is £7 per person. A “disabled and companion” ticket for the Premier Enclosure is available for £24. Tickets can be purchased in advance with a discount of up to 20%.
The timing of this review was on day two of Beverley’s popular August meeting, where an additional £2 was added to the tickets. No transfers are available between enclosures, so it’s important that tickets are booked for your preferred enclosure beforehand.
A number of hospitality packages are available, such as the Paddock Club in the Premier Enclosure, where for £59.00 a ticket, you get a private table, glass of Prosecco, and a three-course platter lunch, and a race card. Be aware that your table is only reserved up to the start of the first race, when the bar is then opened to the public.
A step up from this is the Attraction Restaurant, which is situated on the first floor of the Premier Enclosure. Priced at £90 - £95 per ticket (depending on the raceday), you gain access to the restaurant balcony, which overlooks the racecourse, a private table for the day, a three-course meal, and a race card thrown in.
Overall, the pricing is consistent with most other racecourses of this size that provide an equivalent level of racing. Rating: 8/10.
Catering: Here at Racecourse Advisor, we enjoy doing “racecourse reviews” and not restaurant reviews. Nor do we pretend to be food critics. Our aim is to give you an overall idea of what is available regarding the culinary options and prices at the track on racedays.
The catering options at Beverley are plentiful. They include Cleverley’s Bar and Bistro in the Grandstand, which serves a range of sandwiches and meals, such as slow-cooked pork shoulder on sourdough bread with apple sauce for £8.95. A fishfinger sandwich with tartare sauce is £10.95, or a Falafel burger at £9.95. It also served a chargrilled chicken salad for £9.95 and an east coast seafood pie again for £9.95.
The 1960 bar also sells a good selection and variety of food and drinks, such as a York gammon sandwich or a tuna and sweetcorn sandwich for £4.95. A chicken & bacon sub role, or a double cheese & spring onion sub role for £5.50 each. There was also Beverley’s signature Hull patty butty for 8.00 and a vegetarian version of the same for £7.50.
The Catering Facilities – Beverley Racecourse
Cups of tea (Yorkshire tea, obviously) and coffee for £2.00. A large hot chocolate for £2.80 and a variety of the usual soft drinks for £2.50 per can. It has to be said that in true Yorkshire fashion, the pricing is excellent VFM (value for money!)
There was a wood-fired pizza outlet selling a range of 12” pizzas from £12 to £14.00, depending on your choice. The really good news is that the classic, which is ham & pineapple, was also on the menu! Further to this, there is a German hotdog stand selling a footlong Bratwurst dog for £9.50 or a spicy & smoked dog for £7.50. They also did a traditional hotdog for £6.00 and add £0.50p for cheese if that is to your liking.
There was also an Asian street food van on site, selling all manner of delicacies and treats. As is the tradition on Yorkshire racecourses, there is also a traditional sweetshop on the course, selling all of the old favourites.
It’s fair to say that if you go hungry at Beverley races, then that is entirely down to yourself. There is a great range of different food outlets and options to suit all tastes and budgets.
There are numerous bars to choose from if you fancy a drink or two. The prices were as follows: Guinness, Amstel, Inch’s cider, Theakston Pale Ale, and Strongbow Dark Fruits all at £6.60 per pint. Red and white wine £4.00 per glass or £6.90 for a large glass (187ml). Spirits are priced at £4.50 or £7.40 depending on the size. Rating: 9/10.
Guinness Standard: We are pleased to be able to report that draft Guinness was available in plastic pint glasses at a cost of £6.90. It was a nice drink, cold and well kept. Although not Cheltenham Festival prices, they are not far off. Rating: 7/10.
Viewing: The viewing experience at Beverley Racecourse is very good. The good news is that regardless of where you are situated, you can watch the races at the finishing post on the rails, which we like a lot.
There are three main viewing areas on the course, which are: the Course Enclosure, the Premier Enclosure, and the Grandstand Enclosure:
The Premier Enclosure: The viewing from this stand is superb, and it is located bang on the winning post. It has a small number of padded seats, which are situated just behind the terraced standing area. Once again, plenty of cover is available if required. It is located above the Terrace bar, the 1690 bar, and the main restaurant where the corporate hospitality suites are located.
The Grandstand & Premier Enclosures – Beverley Racecourse
The Grandstand Enclosure is the largest of the three stands and offers excellent viewing. The horses can be seen for virtually 100% of the time whilst in running. Plenty of seating is available, with a standing area at the front of the stand. Plenty of cover to shield from the elements is available if required. The Rapid Lad bar, the Minster & Lavender Lawn bar, and the Paddock bar are all located within this area.
The Course Enclosure is located in the centre of the track. This is also used as a picnic area in the summer. It also has plenty of seats in the form of benches and a small viewing platform at the winning post. At £8.00 a ticket for a full day of racing, we feel this offers seriously good value for money.
A large portable viewing screen is located close to the winning post and is accessible from all three enclosures.
Overall, the viewing at Beverley cannot be faulted and is one of the best we have seen so far on our travels. Rating: 10/10.
Parade Ring / Winners Enclosure: Can be accessed from everywhere, with the exception of the Course Enclosure. It is located left of the two main stands (facing the course), and it is large in size, oval in shape, and it is impressive. It has a number of padded seats along one side of the enclosure.
The Parade Ring & Winners Enclosure – Beverley Racecourse
It is very neatly tended, with hedging around the perimeter. The only downside is that access is only available to approximately 30% of the ring to view the horses. The winners enclosure is located within the ring towards the right-hand side. The weighing room is located just behind it. Rating: 9/10.
Bookmakers / Betting Facilities: On the day of our review, there were plenty of on-course bookmakers in attendance. The Course Enclosure had 8 pitches. The Grandstand 23 and the Premier Enclosure had 5, with a further 10 being shared with the Grandstand. There is also a large William Hill betting concession located on site if that is required.
Overall it was absolutely no problem to get a bet on and pick up anywhere on the course. Rating: 10/10.
Friendliness of Course Staff: A generous Yorkshire welcome was given by the numerous course staff who were available if required.
On the day of our visit, it was the day after ‘Ladies Day’, which is traditionally the busiest meeting of the year at Beverley. However, all of the staff were friendly and helpful. Rating: 10/10.
Pros & Cons: Beverley Racecourse is an independently owned racecourse that is run on a not-for- profit basis, with only 8 full-time staff. It was confirmed as being in the top 10 racecourses in the UK in January 2023. It was the only small, independent course to make it into the top group alongside a number of other large and prestigious tracks. That is some achievement and is without a doubt, a credit to the owners and the small number of staff who run and maintain it.
Beverley has good access with both road & rail links. However, do avoid the town centre on racedays if at all possible.
Ticket pricing is competitive and more than in line with other similar racecourses. The catering options are very good for a course of this size, and much better than a good number of larger courses we have visited in recent times.
The pricing of the food and drink, was in our opinion, was good. The viewing experience is genuinely excellent and cannot be faulted, regardless of where you are located on the course. The same is true with the parade ring and winners enclosure, where the attention to detail is noticeable.
More are more than an ample number of bookmakers looking to take your bets, and a large William Hill concession is on course also. The staff are very friendly and helpful, and nothing is too much trouble.
Overall it was a very pleasurable days racing at an excellent track with excellent facilities. We will return without a doubt. Rating: 8/10
VIP Watch: No VIPs were spotted at the course. However, it would be remiss not to mention the attendance of Rob Burrow, MBE, and his family, who were in attendance to raise money for the motor neurone disease charities in which he is involved with. The work that they do really is commendable. The good news being that their horse Macarone won its race, being ridden by Paul Hanagan. The joyous scenes of Rob and his family celebrating after the race in the winners enclosure were genuinely heartwarming.
Wi-Fi / Internet Connection: Absolutely no problem with the on-course wi-fi on the day of our visit. Excellent reception and coverage in all areas of the course.
Overall Racecourse Advisor Rating: 8.6/10
The full day's racing results can be found here: https://www.sportinglife.com/racing/meeting/2023-08-17/beverley/99263
Facilities & location layout of Beverley Racecourse: (Image: acknowledged & credited to Beverley Race Company Ltd.)
Aerial View Beverley Racecourse: (image acknowledged & credited to Google Earth)
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