With both National Hunt (at Ayr, Kelso, Musselburgh and Perth) and Flat racing (at Ayr, Hamilton Park and Musselburgh) on offer, racing in Scotland is uniquely a year-round sporting attraction. Ayr Racecourse was voted the 2016 Scottish Sporting Venue of the Year and along with Musselburgh Racecourse is a VisitScotland five-star attraction.
To attract the best horses regularly from the major training centres south of the border, Scottish tracks offer proportionately higher prize money and invest consistently in their hospitality.
Scotland is home to a quarter of Britain’s best racecourses for owners, with Ayr, Hamilton Park and Musselburgh racecourses being awarded Gold Standard status for 2016, from the Racehorses Owners Association. Just 12 racecourses – out of 60 in Britain – are awarded the Gold Standard by the ROA, and the Scottish Venues are punching well above their weight compared to their counterparts in England and Wales. Kelso was voted Best Small Racecourse of the Year in Scotland and the North by the Racegoers Club, based on facilities, food & beverage, atmosphere and value for money, and was described in its review as “a course that looks after the racegoer and the viewing is probably the best in Britain.”
The combined turnover of Scotland’s five racecourses was £17.6m in 2016 and sustained 170 full time equivalent jobs directly. Revenues came from a mix of sources, with media rights, the betting levy and ticket sales providing the main sources of income.