With a racing tradition that dates back to 1755, Stratford has firmly established itself as one of Britain’s top smaller racecourses. Known as the home of ‘Hunter Chasing’ Stratford hosts 18 meetings a year including the prestigious Intrum Justita Champion Hunters’ Chase (formerly the Horse & Hound Gold Cup) which is held towards the end of May.
The origins of racing in Stratford are unclear but there are detailed records of races starting from 1755
held at Shottery Meadow in Stratford. Shortly after this recorded period of races a complaint to the local council threatened to end all further fixtures due to the potential damage races would cause to the crops. It appears that this issue forced a suspension of racing, with no recorded fixtures emerging until March 1836 which was won ‘Lady Teazle’.
In 1839, Grand National winner ‘Lottery’ conquered Stratford too, with successive wins in the four mile chase. Again there is a short period of apparent suspension with the racing re-emerging in 1849.
Soon after, a number of races held at Stratford became highly established on the racing calendar, with the Warwickshire Hunt the most valuable. Other well known races of this period in the track’s history included the Shakespeare Cup, the Diamond Jubilee Cup and the Warwickshire Hunt Coronation Cup.
With the turn of the century came a re-branding of racing with races now known as the Stratford-Upon-Avon and Warwickshire Hunt. The current Race Company was established on January 31st 1922 and was headed by Mr J Rowe until his death in 1969.
The 20th Century was a period of re-development for Stratford with the authorisation and construction of a new grandstand in 1955 which was followed by a new restaurant block ten years later.
This period also saw a number of alterations to the track itself. The acquisition of two neighbouring fields in 1969 allowed for an expansion of the circuit while a water jump was placed in front of the stands.
1969 also marked the 200 year anniversary of the Garrick Jubilee Cup which was a three day spectacle. To commemorate the occasion a two-mile hurdle race was established as the Garrick Jubilee Challenge Cup.
This fixture joins a prestigious list of Stratford races which includes the Roddy Baker Gold Cup and the Corbet Cup.
The course itself is quick and flat with a number of tight bends which require fast, accurate jumping. Horses that run well at Newton Abbot tend also to find form at Stratford.
There are 18 meetings and prices are as follows:
Centre Course/Picnic Area- £8
Under 16s accompanied by an adult- Free
There is a 20% discount on advanced orders which can be made online
Details of all 2008 fixtures are listed online
The course is situated 15 minutes from Junction 15 of M40 and 40 minutes from junction 7 of the M5. Journeys from Birmingham by car should take approximately 40 minutes while other major cities such as Manchester and London are within two hours drive.
Stratford-Upon-Avon railway station is approximately 25 minutes away from the track on foot or a five minute taxi journey. Major rail links include London Paddington and Birmingham Moor Street
Stratford-upon-Avon Warwickshire CV37 9SE
Telephone: 01789 267949
Fax: 01789 415850