Wolverhampton track unique - sure to suit staying types!
Wolverhampton Racecourse (since 1825) has offered horse racing for nearly 200 years, features Britain's first floodlit horse racing track and also boasts the first track to race on a Tapeta surface. The course is oval and one mile (1,609 m) in circumference, and with left-hand turns which gives it greater commonality with most racetracks found in the United States than with other venues in the UK.
Over the years the track has been continually improved and in 2014 plans were made by owners Arena Racing Company to resurface the track to Tapeta which was a state of the art surface not yet used in Great Britain at that time. After a three month resurfacing period, the racecourse held it's first race on the new Tapeta surface on Monday 11th August 2014, receiving excellent reviews from jockeys, trainers and owners of Flat horses. Harness Racing is somewhat different. The surface is quite heavy going for the pacers and trotters so the groundsman plans to roll it as firm as possible. The track will still suit a stayer so the times will not be so fast as at Tir Prince etc...
The West Midlands Racecourse is extremely busy, hosting around 80 meetings a year, including its themed Saturday evening events. There are bars, restaurants, and a busy conference and exhibition centre, and has a licence to perform civil weddings. The course also has its own hotel, the 'Holiday Inn Garden Court' with 54 rooms, bar and restaurant. Though there is refurbishment work going on regarding the hotel all the racing facilities are open so that will not be affected. On Saturday only there will be a disco in the Sunbeam hospitality suite upstairs after racing with a late bar.
Darren Owen to commentate again this year!
The excellent Darren Owen (pictured left) will again be the commentator this year, he is the absolute best at explaining our sport to newcomers and in his own inimitable style. He will conduct interviews with the winning drivers after each race. We believe fellow enthusiast, Arab Racing expert and William Hill Radio star Gary Capewell will also be in attendance. We could not be better served.
French officials to view our proceedings?
There are 4 Trot Races under the rules of Le Trot 2 x each day but on the Saturday the last race is in memory of the well known and respected Malcolm Ali from London who passed away over the winter. There will be a Silver division race earlier in the evening and the Gold division will have up to 16 runners (we have special permission for this) with £600 added money from the Ali family together with the generous Le Trot prize money on offer. This should be quite a spectacle and John Foy tells us they hope some of the French officials will come over to watch what can be done on one of the primary tracks. Both of these races will be run over 1.25 miles.
Shane and Claire Fletcher more than generous...
Shane Fletcher is the promoter and he and his wife Claire are more than generous in achieving their dream to put on top class racing in the Midlands. Besides picking up the huge bill for hiring the racecourse Shane is sponsoring the Free for All on a draw for position basis again on Saturday night in memory of his good friend Colin Barrington who unfortunately passed away a couple of years ago. This was won last year by Rocker Laidler driving No Regrets (by Genghis Pan out of All American Bootie) who is owned by Peter Davidson.
Fabulous sponsorship from Oakwood Stud and instrumental in promoting our industry!
Oakwood Stud will be the sponsor of this year's 3yo Derby on Saturday 4th June 2016 and is one of the main stakes taking place at the meeting with a first prize of £1,000. The Dunstall Park Harness Racing Committee representative Claire Fletcher said: “Derek and James Delaney at Oakwood Stud are just super. They have been "stepping up" and sponsoring races throughout the UK and Ireland and have been instrumental in helping promote our industry. We are so pleased to have them sponsor our 3yo Derby this year!"
In turn Derek Delaney of Oakwood Stud said: “Both James and I have seen the great work done over the years by Claire Fletcher, Shane and Jackie Maguire. They have made the Dunstall Park Harness Meet at Wolverhampton a major weekend of top racing in England and we wanted to be part of it as a race sponsor.” Claire Fletcher continued: “We encourage everyone to mark their calendars for the weekend of 4th and 5th June and come to Wolverhampton Racecourse for our race meets. We will show everyone a grand time and our race days will be top flight.” STAGBI are also sponsoring a race this year for mares who are prospective breeding stock of the future. Once again the winner will take home £1,000
These are all on Saturday night in addition to races on offer for Maiden/Novice and Graded races according to entries as we are limited to a maximum of 9 races each day.
Sunday and Roy Sheedy kindly sponsors the 4yo Pace
On Sunday the committee offer the lower grade races and two more trots but this time over a distance of 1 mile. There will be a 4yo pace kindly sponsored by Roy Sheedy of the Wellfield Stud, Penhow, near Chepstow. Again this is for £1000 and we feel that the 4yos often get overlooked so it is hoped that this will be well supported.
Thanks to Brian Doyle Air Cargo, American Sales Company and once again Huw Evans of Tregaron
Brian Doyle Air Cargo are sponsoring a race over 6 furlongs for those that struggle to get the distance over this more testing going and of course we have a leg of The Big Guns Championship sponsored by the American Sales Company for a second year. Our thanks to Huw Evans, Tregaron for not only getting this sponsorship but his efforts for harness racing generally!
The entries for this series are now up on the BHRC.
Big crowd need a BIG SCREEN and we have it this year!
The Racing Horse is hoping for a big crowd and in order to make things better a BIG SCREEN and operator has been booked and this will make a world of difference for the spectators to see what is happening down the back straight. This is quite a big extra expense but the consensus is that it will be worth it!
Remember, none of these events can take place without the help of stewards, judges and volunteers who often get taken for granted so Jackie Maguire would like to say a big thank you to them at every opportunity. In turn The Racing Horse would like to thank those mentioned, but also for Jackie, for all her hard work and her help!