Worcester Racecourse 300th Anniversary CelebrationsPublished: Wednesday, 4th July 2018
HRH The Princess Royal visits Worcester Racecourse in celebration of its 300th year.
A crowd of over 2,000 people visited the racecourse in the heart of Worcester City Centre to celebrate this historic occasion, where there were 8 thrilling summer jump races to enjoy as well as plenty of famous faces from racing past and present sharing stories of their memories of Worcester Racecourse.
HRH The Princess Royal is well-connected with Worcester Racecourse, having ridden a winner in the 3 mile Droitwich Handicap Chase, on her own horse Cnoc Na Cuille, on 3 September 1987.
The winner of the 2018 Arctic Spas Worcester Grand Annual, in it’s first running since 1933, was Bestwork, trained by Chipping Norton based trainer Charlie Longsdon and ridden by jockey Jonathan Burke. HRH The Princess Royal presented the winning owner, jockey, trainer and groom with their prizes to mark the feature race of the day.
In this landmark year the general public were invited via social media to share their photographs of themselves at Worcester Racecourse over the years, as part of a bespoke piece of artwork commissioned by the racecourse called the ‘People of Pitchcroft’. 300 photos of the public, staff and famous faces over the last 300 years have been incorporated into the artwork which was installed for the anniversary raceday, and all members of the public that submitted a photograph received a complimentary ticket for racing on 4th July to view the artwork which takes pride of place in the grandstand reception.
As one of the oldest racecourses in the UK, the first race meeting hosted at the site in the heart of Worcester City Centre, known as ‘Pitchcroft’, took place on 27 June 1718. In the Racecourse’s 300-year history there has been everything from a bare-knuckle fight watched by a crowd of 30,000 to a record 229 runners on an 8 race card in January 1965.
The first meetings were flat races and by 1755 a four-day flat meeting had been introduced with a jumps fixture in the Autumn. By the middle of the nineteenth century, several important races had become well established at the course, including the Worcester Stakes and the Gold Cup.
The course has undergone many changes, including the layout in 1880 of a new track that featured a now long-defunct figure-of-eight course. Flat racing was discontinued in 1966, but the National Hunt meetings continued to provide competitive racing with large fields.