Date of Review: 30th November 2022
Address: Haydock Park Racecourse, Newton-le-Willows, Merseyside, WA12 0HQ
Track Layout: (Image: courtesy of & acknowledged to At The Races)
Horseracing events are documented as having been held as far back as 1752 in Newton-le-Willows, some two miles away from the current course. Racing continued there until 1898. Haydock came to prominence in 1908 after a major redevelopment, which secured its future as one of the most prestigious courses in the country. Its last redevelopment was the addition of the latest grandstand in 1990. Haydock Racecourse is set in 127 acres of parkland and is a dual-purpose track, hosting both flat and National Hunt meetings 32 times per year in total. It stages numerous high-class, group, and graded races, including the Haydock Sprint Cup on the flat and the Betfair Chase over fences, which was the first leg of the now defunct National Hunt Triple Crown series, which carried a £1 million bonus (won by Kauto Star in 2006/7). It also hosts the Grand National Trial, held in February of each year. Haydock is a left-handed oval shaped track, circa one mile and five furlongs in distance. The run in for the finishing post is a decent four and a half furlongs, which rises slightly during the distance. Sprint races on the flat are run on a straight six-furlong course. The steeplechase course has 10 fences, while the hurdle course has 5 hurdles.
The Racecourse Advisor Guide to Haydock Park Racecourse:
By Road: Haydock Park is located just one mile from junction 23 of the M6 and is well signed as you leave the motorway. Traveling from the south on the M6, 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 (please follow signs). From the west and east, use the A580 East Lancs road and follow the signs to Haydock Park, or use the postcode WA3 3QP on your Sat Nav.
By Rail: Traveling by train to Haydock Racecourse can be a bit tricky. The nearest train station to Haydock Park Racecourse is Newton-le-Willows, which is approximately 5 miles away. This station is available on trains running from Manchester Piccadilly, Victoria, and Oxford Road to Liverpool Lime Street. On the main London-Glasgow line, the nearest stations are Warrington Bank Quay and Wigan North Western, which are both approximately 8 miles from the racecourse. A free shuttle bus service is available from Newton-le-Willows station, but only on certain ‘big race’ days. Therefore, it's not a bad idea to check beforehand if required on 0845 000 125. Rating: 8/10.
Parking: Parking is both easy and plentiful. However, there is a strict ‘hierarchy of car parks’ at this venue. The parking closest to and immediately adjacent to the main entrance is for owners & trainers only. The next car park is for racegoers who have booked hospitality facilities. Further on is the car park reserved for the bookmakers, and then finally and furthest away from the entrance is the vast gravel car park for the normal punters. Entry and exit are both quick and easy. However, the exit after the races for the punters' car park takes you out the back way towards Ashton and not to the East Lancs A580 / M6 motorway. This is worth knowing and noting. Rating: 9/10.
Pricing: £25.00 entrance fee (£18 for concessions) to the County Enclosure, which enables access to all areas, is excellent value for a course of this quality. As Haydock is a Jockey Club course, it is 100% credit card only payment in all areas for everything, which is a bugbear of ours. But maybe we are just both old fashioned and set in our ways nowadays? The race card was £3.00. Locally produced. Informative, with plenty of useful information, statistics, and tips. 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 on all levels at this course is top notch! There are three upscale full hospitality areas: the Kauto Star restaurant. Harry’s Bistro restaurant and the Park Suite restaurant, so there is no shortage of choices if you are looking for a VIP racing experience. The normal punter also has plenty of options, with the obligatory burger van serving ‘gourmet’ steak, chicken, or vegan burgers at £9.50 a pop. There is also Coole’s Bar & Grill which serves a selection of deli food. Coole’s Bar & Grill, is named after the punter who won the biggest ever value Tote payout at 3,740/1. Where else could you get this type of information and knowledge free of charge, we ask?
We made a beeline for the aptly named Dog House catering facility, which sells hot dogs, sausage rolls, etc. and went for the pie, peas, and gravy for £6.00 (well, we were only 8 miles away from Wigan). It was tasty and good value. However, we did note that, disappointingly, for some unknown reason they were stingy with the peas, so we have to dock a point for that. In the words of the late, great John Lennon (not forgetting Yoko): All we are saying, is give peas a chance… As this was a midweek meeting at the end of November, a number of the summer catering options, such as the Champagne & Seafood bar and the Gin Garden, were closed. As was the traditional fish & chips outlet in the Be Friendly Stand which was more than a tad disappointing.
Alas, no ice cream van, so our quest for finding banana-flavoured ice cream on the racetracks of the UK continues on… However, as we have said, it is the end of November, so we can’t be too critical can we? There are also at least a dozen bars scattered around in the various stands on the course serving beers, wine, and soft drinks, so getting a beer or a drink isn’t a problem. There are also plenty of picnic tables available in front of the Tommy Whittle stand next to the rails on the home straight, should this take your fancy in the summer months. Rating: 9/10
Guinness Standard: We are pleased to report that draft Guinness is available at £6.00 a pint, so it is relatively well priced for a premier racetrack. It was, however, the coldest pint of Guinness we ever experienced on a racecourse anywhere! Having said that, it was a very enjoyable pint of the black stuff. Rating: 9/10.
Viewing: The viewing of the races here is excellent. The horses can be seen almost 100% of the time during racing, regardless of where you are situated. There are four main viewing areas: The Centenary Stand, which is dead centre on the winning post. The Tommy Whittle Stand is to the right of the Centenary Stand: the Grandstand which is to the left: next to that is the Makerfield Stand: and then even further left is the Be Friendly Stand. It is an absolute luxury compared to some. All four viewing areas are large, with more seats than standing areas. All have plenty of cover, so there is absolutely no problem if shelter is required from the elements for any reason. Some of the areas at the back of the Grandstand are actually carpeted and heated! It has to be said that the overall viewing experience at this track is superb. Rating: 10/10.
Parade Ring / Winners Enclosure: Is located at the back and to the right of the main grandstand as you walk past the Champagne & Seafood bar on the right and the Gin Garden on the left. It is pretty, picturesque, spacious with plenty of raised wooden viewing platforms at one end. The owners & trainers facilities are directly opposite. The O&T’s do appear to be very well catered for here on all fronts, with their own bar, restaurant, and coffee shops. The winner's enclosure is immediately at the front of the parade ring. Rating: 10/10.
Bookmakers / Betting Facilities: The main bookmakers' pitch is placed just to the left of the of the main Grandstand. With around 23 pitches, there is no problem getting a bet on or collecting. Further to this, there is a small pitch of around 3 bookmakers next to the parade ring as well. There are plenty of Tote betting outlets located in the stands and around the course as well as a large William Hill betting facility. Rating: 9/10.
Friendliness of Course Staff: There are plenty of course staff located at all points around the course who are very friendly and helpful. There are no problems whatsoever on this front. Rating: 9/10.
Pros & Cons: Haydock Racecourse is most certainly the jewel in the crown of the northern located tracks. It is a prestigious "Premier League" racecourse, with easy access immediately off the M6. Lots of free car parking and entrance tickets are more than competitively priced: value for money here is a given. The catering is top notch. Plenty of food and drink options to suit every pocket and every taste (ice cream withstanding!). The viewing facilities are best-in-class as are the seating options. A very picturesque parade ring which adds to the charm of the course. There are plenty of betting options, be it the Tote, on-course bookmakers, or off course William Hill facilities. Friendly and helpful staff to boot. All in all, it was a very pleasurable horse racing experience. Highly recommended! Rating: 9/10.
VIP Watch: No VIPs of any note were seen.
Overall Dave & Ray Rating: 9.0/10.
The full day's racing results can be found here: https://www.sportinglife.com/racing/meeting/2022-11-30/haydock/94568
Facilities & Location Layout of Haydock Racecourse
Aerial View of Haydock Racecourse
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