Uttoxeter Racecourse only hosts National Hunt racing but it is a course that remains operational almost all year round. Uttoxeter’s fixtures span the entirety of the jumps season with its biggest races – the Summer Cup and the Midlands Grand National – nicely bookending the campaign.
A tricky and sometimes gruelling test, Uttoxeter is deserving of its growing reputation as one of the premier racecourses in the Midlands.
As a racecourse that only hosts National Hunt racing, there is only one track at Uttoxeter. The main track is divided into separate circuits for hurdles/National Hunt Flat races and steeplechases, but they both use largely the same layout, posing similar challenges for horses and jockeys. There’s not much in the way of undulation to worry about but Uttoxeter is a very stiff, tight course which demands shrewd tactical planning.
Uttoxeter Jumps Course
The first thing to note about the track at Uttoxeter is that it includes some very sharp turns. It is, therefore, not a course that suits every horse but those who don’t handle tight turns particularly well can still have success here. The way to do that is by leading from the front.
It is notoriously difficult for horses to work their way through the pack to take up the challenge to the leaders at Uttoxeter. That is especially true when the going is firmer underfoot as in such conditions it is one of the fastest National Hunt courses. If, therefore, you are having a bet at Uttoxeter and the ground is good or firmer, you should consider lending your support to horses who travel well and are comfortable taking the race up from the front.
Front-running can still be a fruitful tactic when the going is less than ideal, as it so often is at Uttoxeter. As mentioned above, the Midlands Grand National is a real highlight of the season at Uttoxeter. The 4 mile 2 furlong race is an incredibly tough test of stamina at the best of times but the weather in March can often make it all the more challenging with rain leaving the horses having to get the trip on soft or even heavy ground.
When the going is soft or heavy it really puts a premium on a horse’s jumping ability even though the fences aren’t especially difficult. Horses who can combine an ability to travel strongly for the majority of a race with reliability over fences will be tough to beat providing they don’t burn out and run their race too early.
The final interesting tactical test for jockeys at Uttoxeter is navigating the back straight which isn’t actually straight. It’s an ‘S’ shape and those with the most experience of Uttoxeter will sometimes take a different, wider route than would look ideal.
Major Races at Uttoxeter
|Last Run||Race||Grade||Last Winner|
|18th Mar 2023||Midlands Grand National||Premier Handicap||Major Dundee (12/1)|