Leicester Racecourse is a testing course both on the flat and over the jumps through the winter season, it is an undulating right handed track and by understanding the characteristics of the course, you can quickly understand what you are looking for in a horse to do well at the course.
Flat Turf Course
The flat turf course at Leicester consists of the round course for the 1m, 1m 2f and 1m 4f trips and the sprint course, which is a straight spur for the 5f, 6f and 7f trips.
As you can see from the map the Leicester course is right handed and undulating, making it a very testing track which requires stamina to win. The back straight and home straight are nearly 5f in length, so suit galloping type horses.
The sprint trips are on the straight course with the 7f at the highest point of the track at the end of the spur, then the 6f and 5f starts are further down the spur. All the sprint starts are on a downhill slope and drop down to the lowest point of the track at just after the 4f pole before climbing uphill towards the finish, with the final 100yds levelling out.
The flat course is a very similar test to Ascot and you will regaularly see the top stables send their horses for a run at Leicester before the Royal Meeting in June.
The hurdles course at Leicester runs on the summer flat course, on the outside of the chase course down the back straight before switching to the inside of the chase course on the home straight. The hurdles course consists of 6 standard brush hurdles, three on the back straight and three on the home straight.
Beware The Going
One of the key characteristics to take into account, when watching jumps racing at Leicester, is the change in the going on the hurdles course.
It is important to understand that as the hurdles course is run on the flat round course, the track has been watered through the summer months, so has a higher water table than the chase course. The effect of this can be quite pronounced when there has been any rain at Leicester, as the hurdles track will be far softer than the chase track. It is quite a common occurance for the Clerk of the Course to release two seperate going reports for each course.
The main trips in the hurdles races are 2m, which starts on the home straight and consists of 8 hurdles, the 2m 4 1/2f and 2m 7 1/2f which start on the back straight. Remember stamina is key on the undulating course and particularly on the uphill finish, where races can change very quickly.
The chase course and chase fences at Leicester are demanding and require a good solid jumper with plenty of stamina to get round. The chase course runs around the inside of the hurdles course along the back straight before moving to the outside on the home straight.The chase course consists of 10 fences, six along the back straight, starting with a good sized water jump, then an open ditch followed by four standard chase fences, there are then a further four fences on the home straight including a further open ditch.
As we discussed with the hurdles course being watered through the summer this can cause it to be a fair bit softer than the chase course, the main problem with this is obviously where one course crosses the other, you can have horses running on the chase course then corssing over the hurdles course and hitting “softer ground” before going back onto faster ground, this is a similar situation at the end of the races where the two courses converge over the final 100yds, tired horses on the chase course suddenly hit softer ground again and can stop very quickly. Again, be aware of this when watching the closing stages of chases at Leicester, as it can change the outcome of a race very quickly.
Again the mian trips for the chase races are 2m, starting on the home straight, 2m 4 1/2f and 2m 7 1/2f starting on the back straight.
If you would like to understand the characteristics of the track at Leicester further – check out our Free Leicester Course Guide – Course Walk Video