Known to all and sundry as the Garden Racecourse, the charming Ripon in North Yorkshire is a popular flat-only venue.
While racing has been staged on this particular site since 1900, the sport or versions of it can be traced back in this area to as far back in history as 1664.
In the modern era, the Great St. Wilfrid, Ladies Day and the Go Racing in Yorkshire Festival are all massive days out at Ripon.
Ripon Track Details
Ripon Racecourse has a right-handed track, an oval just under a mile-and-a-half in length with a long run-in after the final bend of five furlongs. The track has a straight six-furlong course on which the venue’s top two events are staged.
Despite its length and the elongated straight, Ripon performs as a very sharp track owing to its undulations on the run-in and the very compressed bends.
In terms of running style, Ripon suits front-runners when underfoot conditions are good. As part of the aforementioned undulations, the last ‘ridge’ on the straight gives riders a chance to kick off it and make a break 1½ furlongs from the line and on the right horse that is often a race-winning move.
Given its topography a horse needs balance around here, so if you’re handicapping one that has changed legs or lost footing easily enough, say on a bend, keep it in mind.
Despite all of this Ripon remains broadly fair to all, so the main consideration always we be whether or not your chosen handicapper has enough in hand at the weights. If they do, they can win.
Top Trainers and Jockeys at Ripon
One good handicap betting angle is to check out who has been doing well at Ripon in recent times. The top trainers in terms of strike-rate, prize money and overall wins are:
- Tim Easterby
- David O’Meara
- Richard Fahey
- Mark Johnston
- William Haggas
- Mick Dods
- Jedd O’Keeffe
- Nigel Tinkler
The better-performing jockeys at Ripon across recent seasons:
- Danny Tudhope
- David Allan
- Silvestre De Sousa
- PJ McDonald
- Paul Hanagan
- Ben Curtis
- Paul Mulrennan
- Kevin Stott
Do bear in mind however, that when primarily Newmarket or Lambourn-based jockeys are sent to ride horses at Ripon they will very often only do so to partner a special horse and/or one that has a huge winning chance in their eyes.
Ripon’s Showpiece Event
While strictly speaking in terms of quality and potential, the Listed class Ripon Champion Two Years Old Trophy is the top race here, it doesn’t get the most attention.
That accolade, quite rightly, goes to the Great St. Wilfrid Stakes. The August sprint spectacular, a six-furlong dash with a decent prize money pot, ranks as one of the biggest betting races of the month despite the Stewards’ Cup and the Ebor also being on the schedule.
A Class 2 handicap, the Great S. Wilfrid has been won in the past by the likes of Markab, Pipalong, Dakota Gold and Staxton and acts as a source of pride not just for winning trainers, jockeys and owners, but successful punters too.