Category: World Hippodromes

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Description of the greatest hippodromes around the world.

Aintree Racecourse

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Aintree Racecourse is the most famous racecourse in the county of Merseyside and a landmark for the city of Liverpool when it comes to horse racing. The biggest challenge that is celebrated is the Grand National, while music concerts and even golf competitions are regularly held on the local course.

The Grand National

The opening date of the sports facility is a testament to the long sporting tradition. The racecourse was opened as far back as 1829; until 1960, the local railway provided a station for spectators to arrive.

The Grand National is undoubtedly the most eagerly awaited sporting event, because of the passion for horses that the people of Liverpool share and the long history of the race. Historical sources trace the first edition back to 1836, at the behest of the Earl of Sefton. Although it is not certain that the first races were held at Aintree but at Maghull Racecourse.

Technical information

The Grand National is an obstacle jumping competition, comprising 16 obstacles, made up of hedges and ditches. Many of the obstacles that the jockeys have to jump over bear names that recall the long history of the competition. The total length of the course is four and a half miles, or more than seven kilometres. About 40 horses show up at the start, although about ten complete the race.

Other events at Aintree

In addition to horses, cars are also the protagonists at Aintree Racecourse. For five years, between 1955 and 1962, the Formula 1 British Grand Prix was held here. Nowadays, car races of various levels are held.

Musical events enliven Liverpool’s nights. Top names have graced the grounds of the Aintree, such as Michael Jackson, McFly, and The Chemical Brothers. It also takes part in the city’s regular music events.

The official website of the Aintree Racecourse offers all kinds of information and updates regarding events.

The Capannelle Racecourse

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The History of the Capannelle Racecourse

The first horse races in Rome took place under the government of the Papal State around 1870 outside Porta S. Giovanni. But already in 1844 Lord George Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield, had organised two days of racing on the land adjacent to the current racecourse area – a place used for fox hunting. In the meantime, the Italian Jockey Club and the Steeple Chases Society were founded. In 1881, the races were regularised and the Italian programmes were brought into line with the European ones. In the same year the first Capannelle Racecourse was opened. The area was so called because of the presence of some typical huts of the Agro Romano. An unusual origin for a place that has seen the most illustrious names of the aristocracy parade, and that has been the scene of the greatest victories of glorious and legendary champions, until it became, today, the first racecourse in Italy.

In 1926, the Società di Corse in Roma inaugurated the new Capannelle Racecourse, a real jewel of technique and architecture for those years, in front of the ruins of the Acquedotto Claudio of the Villa di Lucrezia Romana, with the Colli Albani and the mountains of Abruzzo in the background. In 2005, the ‘all-weather’ track, the first Italian example of a synthetic track, was built and inaugurated on 7 October. A year later, on 9 September 2006, the lighting system built specifically for this track was switched on for the first time. The new trotting track, created inside the galloping tracks, was inaugurated on 9 April 2014.

 

Today, the Capannelle Hippodrome

The Capannelle racecourse, owned by Roma Capitale and considered since its foundation a real “temple” in the world of international turf, with the inclusion of trotting in its programming has become the most important structure in the national panorama of horse racing. During the year, there are only short breaks in the racing calendar (February and August) and the collateral activities are always numerous.

The Hippodrome is a confirmed venue for international music events (Rock in Roma), important sporting events (Cyclocross World Championship) and exhibitions.

The facility, located south-west of Rome in the Agro Romano and at the foot of the Colli Albani, currently covers 140 hectares. The area includes two areas for the stables, which can accommodate up to 1,000 horses, the gallop training track, which mirrors the race track, and the racecourse, which is the actual theatre of racing activities, from 2014 also for trotting.

This part of the facility, which between stands, parterres and green areas has a capacity of over 20,000 people, also includes the lawn area (equipped with fixed tables and barbecues), four grandstands, hospitality areas (Garden and “Derby Terrace”), bar and panoramic restaurant, play areas, and areas equipped for children. Twenty-five light towers, with masts between 24 and 40 metres above the ground, have been illuminating the tracks of the Capannelle racecourse since the summer of 2006.

The lighting system has 550 reflectors of two thousand watts each, and makes it possible to hold events at night, in particular gallop races on the all-weather track and trotting races. The towers have been sized to withstand prevailing winds and to avoid oscillations that could disturb the horses’ visual sensitivity to changes in light.

Over the last ten years, the racecourse has undergone major structural interventions (transformation of the all-weather sand track, lighting, timing system and construction of the trotting track) aimed at bringing the facilities up to the standards of the most celebrated international facilities.

 

Grandstands

The grandstands, located in the four hundred metres facing the finishing straight, are four:

– The restaurant grandstand (250 seats in the terrace plus 250 seats in the restaurant above) includes a covered restaurant equipped with monitors to watch the races, consult the totaliser odds and the football matches on Pay TV, free-to-air and satellite channels. A bar and the totalizator counters are located below.

– Main Grandstand (1,100 seats), with a terrace.

– Central Tribune-Pésage (600 seats) houses the Club-House, the Weight, the Authority area, the Commissioners’ Tower, the Fantini Room, the Press Room and the TV control room.

– Tribuna dell’Arrivo (486 seats), it hosts a bar-cafeteria

 

Trotting and Galloping tracks

There are three elliptical race tracks located in front of the grandstands:

– Two flat gallop tracks (grass and all-weather)

– One trotting track contained within the two galloping tracks

 

Trotting

The trotting track was built in 2013 and opened on 9 April 2014. It has a length of 1,000 metres with a radius of curvature of more than 80 metres. The bottom for the realization of the track, draining and soft at the same time, is made of two layers of pozzolanic material of various sizes (25 cm. base + 10 cm. of tread and wear) from a quarry only seven kilometres from the racecourse. The track is completed by a thin layer of a mixture of pozzolanic lapillus sand and washed pozzolan sand.

 

Galop

The grass track reserved for galloping actually comprises three of them, depending on the distances:

– the Grande track (about 2,600 metres)

– Derby track (2,400 metres)

– straight track (1,200 metres)

 

The all-weather track is 2,000 metres long and is also used for training. It was built in the summer of 2005 and is the first Italian example of a synthetic track.

There are five training tracks.

– two grass tracks (2,600 and 1,800 metres)

– three sand tracks (1,400, 1,600 and 2,400 metres)

 

The Giardino Ospitalità and the “Terrazza Derby”, a structure designed by the famous architect Paolo Portoghesi, set up on the edge of the track in front of the Arrival Stand, are reserved for guests on Grand Prix days.

 

The Horse Races During The Year

Spring

The spring season is the pride and joy of the Roman racecourse. It is centred on four major events, the Premi: Parioli, Regina Elena, President of the Republic and the Italian Derby.

– The Premio Parioli (1,600 metres Gr3) and the Premio Regina Elena (1,600 metres Gr3 reserved for three-year-old females) award respectively the best male miler and the best female. They are the first two major European events for three-year-old horses and attract valuable guests and fans from all over Europe.

– The Premio Presidente della Repubblica (1,800 metres Gr2 for whole males and females aged 4 years and over) is a competition of worldwide value, also because of the value of the prize money offered. It is the flagship race of the entire spring.

– The Italian Derby (2,200 metres Gr2 ) for whole males and three-year-old females) celebrated its 136th edition in 2019. Until the early 1980s, the “Nastro Azzurro” was reserved for indigenous horses only.Other group races on the day: Premio Carlo D’Alessio (Gr3) and Premio Tudini (Gr3)

Autumn

The Ippodromo di Capannelle dresses up for grand occasions this season, especially on the two days of international stature, those centred on the Lydia Tesio Prize and the Rome Prize.

– The Lydia Tesio Prize (2,000 metres Gr1 for females aged 3 years and over) is named after the ‘First Lady’ of Italian galloping, wife of the great trainer Federico and breeder of Ribot, a legendary horse of Italian horseracing. The race has become the most important end-of-season test for females in Europe.

– The Premio Roma (2,000 metres Gr1 for entire males and females aged 3 years and over): a race of international standing for over fifty years, it is the last major event on the European autumn calendar for galloping.

Other group races in the day: Ribot Prize (Gr3) – Berardelli Prize (Gr3) – Carlo and Francesco Aloisi Prize (Gr3)

Hippodrome of San Rossore

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Set in the beautiful San Rossore Estate, the Pisa Racecourse offers a unique and unforgettable experience for the whole family. Horses are the main attraction on race days, but our public has a whole range of possibilities to spend a pleasant time between races. Animations for children, tastings, shows and entertainment for all.

The Racecourse

The race track at the Hippodrome of San Rossore (known as Prato degli Escoli) was laid out in 1829 by Leopold II of Lorraine. The first racing meeting took place on 3 April 1854 and in 2004 the 150th anniversary of this event was celebrated. The most prestigious race, which has been run there since 1885, is the Premio di Pisa, a Listed Race reserved for three-year-old horses over 1,600 metres. Since 1998, the Criterium di Pisa, whose first edition dates back to 1885 and which had been suspended in 1912, has been brought back into the racing programme, and is now held in mid-December. After the success of the first editions, since 2002 the Criterium has been promoted to Listed Race. The race is reserved for two-year-old horses and the distance is one and a half kilometres.

The other races full of charm and history are the Andred, Enrico Camici, Federico Regoli, Thomas Rook and Andreina Prizes, all of which are described in detail in the chapter dedicated to the main races at San Rossore.

 

Technical Characteristics

The medium-sized grass track is about 1,610 metres long and 32 metres wide; the straight stretches are 530 metres long and the curves have a radius of 85 metres. The track is equipped with two racetracks that extend the straight lines by 120 metres and from which the 1,500 and 2,200 metre runs start. The obstacle course, located inside the flat track, is in the shape of an eight, 15 metres wide and has a circular length of 1,474 metres. The development with the two diagonals, respectively 265 and 315 metres long and 25 metres wide, allows for a lap of 1,527 metres. There is a course in hedges and one in steeple-chases, with the following obstacles: hedges, barred hedge, oxer, talus, fence, wall and riviera. Three hurdles were created in the meadow in order to be able to run cross-country races as well.

Since autumn 2003, the small indoor track has been used for some flat races.

The racecourse has an indoor and an outdoor grandstand and a total capacity of about 10,000 seats. The facilities for the public are completed by a restaurant, a trattoria – pizzeria, four bars, a playground, an ATM and a large car park. A state-of-the-art maxi screen is located just after the finish line.

 

The New Track

On 1 November 2010 a new track was inaugurated at San Rossore. The track allows races up to 1,750 metres with only one bend and the possibility of classic distances such as 1,600 and 2,400 metres. The turf was created using a specially designed and patented grassing technique. The new track is characterised by a varied altimetric trend, with a slight descent starting at the entrance of the new big curve (150 metres radius) and an uphill slope leading to the entrance of the finishing line, which is in fact lengthened by about 100 metres compared to the historical track, which remains unchanged.

The 150-metre radius of the bend makes it possible to programme quality races for top horses.

Since autumn 2015, starting from a small racetrack built before the entrance to the big bend, races over the minimum distance of 1,000 metres have also been held at San Rossore.

 

The Climate

The climate of Barbaricina is typically Mediterranean, with fairly low annual rainfall and very high average annual temperatures (around 15°C). The distribution of rainfall and the mild temperatures, even in winter, undoubtedly facilitate regular equestrian activities, both for breeding and training and for actual competition. The exceptional pedological constitution of the San Rossore grounds, on which the racecourse and the various training tracks have been built over time, is also of particular interest to the Barbaricina horse racing activity. The entire ‘horse racing area’ is in fact characterised by soils with a considerable sandy component on the surface, with a scarce presence of silty materials and an almost total lack of clay. This particular pedological characterisation, while on the one hand requiring careful management of irrigation water throughout the summer period, is undoubtedly an ideal “substratum” for equestrian activity throughout the autumn-winter period. Even in this season, in fact, the rainwater, which is in itself rather limited, is disposed of by the ground with absolute ease and the tracks, both in and out of the ground, are not affected by the water.

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