My Local Racecourse - Ripon

Features | 11th May 2022

Ripon is known as Yorkshire’s Garden Racecourse for good reason.

The Quintessential English Venue

Anyone who has been to Ripon racecourse will find it easy to understand why the track was voted the ‘Best Racecourse in the North’ three times by the Racegoers Club in recent years.

The unspoilt façade of the stands and the attractive architecture of the racecourse buildings give the track a very traditional feel.
It’s no wonder it has been the location for several TV programs and films including Yorkshire favourites All Creatures Great And Small and Heartbeat.

Inside, the facilities are anything but old fashioned and they cater for every racegoers’ needs. Visitors can tuck into afternoon tea in the Club Dining Room and sip Champagne in the Silks and Saddles Bar.

There are less formal ways to quench one’s thirst in one of the popular bars and the Fountains Café serves a wide range of tasty food including its famous fish and chips.

The Course Enclosure allows visitors to bring their own picnics. With views of the finishing line and plenty of food and drinks outlets, it offers a wonderful experience on a summer’s day all at superb value.

Ripon Racecourse


An Historic Setting

Racing has taken place in Ripon racecourse for more than 350 years. It made history in 1723 when it held the first race exclusively for female riders.

The current racecourse in its present location held its first meeting in 1900. It holds 17 race days of Flat racing during the season and the ITV cameras make visits to Ripon for a couple of them.

The big race of the season is the Great St Wilfrid – a six‐furlong sprint handicap named after the patron saint of Ripon.
It’s been won by some top sprinters down the years. Pipalong, successful in 1999, and 2009 winner Markab both went on to land the Group 1 Sprint Cup at Haydock the following year.

The course also holds the Listed Champion Two‐Year‐Old Trophy that often attracts runners from the country’s top stables. Ripon also holds a fixture during the popular Go Racing in Yorkshire Festival, as well as a Ladies’ Day meeting and the fun Fancy Dress Family Day.



Big Fish, Big Pond

The track is right‐handed and the home straight of around five furlongs is one of the longest in the country.

It is quite undulating – a relic of historic ridge‐and‐furrow farming methods. That rather unusual feature of the course does not suit every horse and it often throws up course specialists who tend to make regular visits to Ripon.

Racing is not the only sporting pastime on the course. The track circles a large lake that is stocked with more than 250 carp. Some weigh in at as big as 38lbs and there are also other species in the 22‐acre lake. The venue attracts many anglers each year intent on pitting their wits against the fish.

Whether sat by the lake or taking in one of the track’s race meetings, it’s easy to see why the aptly‐named Garden Racecourse is so popular.