My Local Racecourse – Hamilton Park

Features | 25th September 2022

Hamilton Park is one of the friendliest courses in Britain and it prides itself in offering something for everyone during the course of the season. It combines thrilling racing with award-winning hospitality just 15 miles from the centre of Scotland’s biggest city.

Located to the south-east of Glasgow, racing has been taking place in Hamilton for 240 years. The current racecourse site has been hosting meetings for nearly a hundred years but its most famous trophy predates that by centuries.

The Lanark Silver Bell is one of the course’s biggest races of the season. Legend has it that the silver bells the race takes its name from were given by William The Lion in 1165. The King of Scotland is known to have taken part in local hunts and watched racing on nearby moors.

That would make it the world’s oldest sporting trophy but the hallmarks on the bells point to them dating from much later in the 16th century or early 17th century.

The race was originally held at Lanark until the racecourse closed in 1977. The Silver Bell was resurrected by nearby Hamilton Racecourse in 2002 and is now run annually in late August. This year the ancient prize stayed in Scotland when local trainer Jim Goldie, based just 25 miles from the track, saddled a one-two with Wickywickywheels beating stablemate Sir Chauvelin.


The original silver bells are, of course, too valuable to be handed to the winning owner so a new contemporary trophy to compliment the bells was created. The Lanark Silver Bell, although a prestigious prize, is a handicap. Hamilton’s only ‘pattern’ race is the Listed Glasgow Stakes, which is also a race that was moved from another course. 

Despite the name, it used to be run at York, where it served as a Classic trial. Subsequent Derby winner Commander In Chief landed the contest in 1993. The race was transferred to Hamilton in 2006 and it has since been won by several future stars.

Trainer Mark Johnston has dominated the contest in recent years. Subjectivist became his sixth winner of the Glasgow Stakes since it has been run in Scotland when successful in 2020. He went on to win the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot the following year.

Postponed, winner of four Group 1 races, including the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and the Juddmonte International, lifted the prize in 2014.

As well as serving as an established pathway to greater things for future stars, Hamilton also holds a place in racing history. It was the first British course to host an evening meeting when holding the ground-breaking fixture in 1947. The track’s evening meetings remain extremely popular.

The course is run and owned by the Hamilton Park Trust. It was created in 1973 to secure the future of racing for all time and that’s great news to the thousands of people who enjoy racing at Hamilton every summer.