Betfair Chase Time - Home of the Gold Cup Wannabes

Features | 16th November 2022

Haydock is one of the few racecourses to hold top-class races over jumps and on the Flat

The Superstar Chase

The upcoming Betfair Chase on Saturday 19 November is the track’s top jumps race and is often the season’s first port of call for Cheltenham Gold Cup hopefuls. Last year, A Plus Tard was an incredibly impressive winner before going on to win the Cheltenham Festival’s greatest prize. He is not the first horse to have completed the notable double. 

Kauto Star won the Betfair Chase four times and fellow Gold Cup hero Imperial Commander also triumphed in the Haydock contest. The Grade 1 race, officially known as the Lancashire Chase, was also won twice by Silviniaco Conti and three times by Cue Card. Both horses went on to win the King George Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.

Top Class Racing

Haydock’s jumps calendar also contains no less than six Grade 2 races. The Peter Marsh Chase, the Grand National Trial and the Rendlesham Hurdle are among those races that ensure the winter months are packed with quality racing at the Merseyside course. The summer is much the same. 

The Group 1 Sprint Cup is the highlight of Haydock’s Flat fixtures and it often attracts the cream of Europe’s six-furlong speedsters. The top-class contest, held in early September, has been won by some of the sprinting greats. Dayjur, Royal Applause and Harry Angel have all landed the prestigious prize. Haydock also hosts numerous other big Flat races. 

The Temple Stakes and Sandy Lane Stakes – both Group 2 sprints – are run on the same day in late May or early June and are often used as a stepping stone to Royal Ascot. The Lancashire Oaks is another of the track’s Group 2 races. Last year it was won by subsequent Arc de Triomphe heroine Alpinista.

A Beautiful Setting

The course, now owned by the Jockey Club, is located between Liverpool and Manchester. There’s just 20 miles between the course and those cities with excellent transport links as Haydock is just off the M6. Despite it’s proximity to the busy stretch of motorway, the course itself has an almost country feel as it is set in woodland and has a tree-lined avenue on the approach to the main entrance. I

ts location would have been genuinely rural in the early days of racing in the area. There are records of the sport taking place in nearby Newton Le Willows as far back as 1752 when the racing was closely linked to the thriving hunting scene in Lancashire at the time. As more industry was attracted to the county the race meetings became more popular leading to the current course opening in 1899. 

It has grown into one of the country’s premier courses. The track is left-handed with a long home straight. A slight bend in the back straight makes it appear as a sort of kidney shape from the air before the run to a fairly tight home turn. It is a course for all seasons and is quite rightly popular with racing fans and professionals alike making it one of Britain’s most important tracks with more than a touch of class.

You can still get tickets to go to Haydock and see the Gold Cup hopefuls in action here
Or you can watch all the action from the comfort of your home on ITV Racing on Saturday