Ludlow Racecourse is 70% on a gravel base and 30% on a loam base. As a result, we tend to be an easy, free-draining track, which is ideal in wet weather as we can provide better going (not too wet/heavy) when trainers want to avoid running their horses on testing/heavy ground. So in a wet winter, Ludlow tends to be able to provide better going, ie: good, good to soft.
We do have a very sophisticated irrigation system to counter a dry period, which entails 3 large water booms and areas of sprinkler pop-up watering systems. This water is supplied by our own reservoir, which is situated in the middle of the course. We have the capacity to apply approximately half an inch per day to the whole course.
Distances vary from 2m, 2m 5f, to 3m. We have padded hurdles which reduce the number of small injuries to race horses as they are foam padded. The track is generally regarded as a very fair track, being 1m 5f per circuit with a home straight of approximately 3f.
We use mobile fences, which enables us to move them to fresher ground when it gets cut up during the season. We race over distances of 2m, 2m 4f, 3m and 3m 1f. The track is only 1m 3f for a full circuit, which generally creates a fast circuit so it suits horses that are fast rather than staying types. The fences are regarded as being very fair in that they are all situated on level ground. The combination of a flat track, 1m 3f for a circuit and good, good to soft going tends to create races run at quite a fast pace.
We have 4 racecourse attendants at each fence to ensure that safety and welfare are adhered to during the races. They tread in the divots and repair hurdles that have been knocked over or fences that have had the birch damaged. They also have flags and bypasses if a horse or jockey is injured at the fence or hurdle, to ensure that a bypass system is enforced.
It is the clerk’s responsibility to ensure that racing is run according to the confines of the BHA (British Horseracing Authority) regulations and that the medical and veterinary instructions are in place to ensure the welfare and safety of the participants. He will decide on the going but his decision has to be agreed upon by one of the Acting Stewards. Sometimes, the going will be changed during the day as the weather deteriorates or improves. During the actual race, he has to ensure that the race is being run safely and that there are no issues ahead or behind the horses and keep in touch with racecourse attendants to act accordingly if bypasses or fence mending is required.
Ludlow and Goodwood are the only two racecourses in the country that the horses parade anti-clockwise. The reason for this is to enable the trainer who is doing the leg-up to move away from the horse safely, as opposed to coming out at its rear.
We have a smart new winners enclosure this season to enable all placed horses to be admired and congratulated in the same place.
We are fully committed to all welfare issues, both equine and human.