Perth and its surrounding area

Perth is a city situated in Central Scotland sitting on the banks of the River Tay. By road, it’s about 45 miles from Edinburgh, just under 65 miles from Glasgow and just 23 miles from Dundee. The City is also served by a railway station with easy connections to wherever you want to go.

Perth has become known as ‘The Fair City’ almost two hundred years ago following publication by Sir Walter Scott of his story ‘Fair Maid Of Perth’. Having walked around the city for a while, I reckon it’s a title the city fully deserves, it’s lovely. Historically, Perth was once called St Johns Toun (after St John The Baptist) and hence the name of the local football team St Johnstone.

Visitors to this area who enjoy hill walking, boating, history and castles have a wealth of opportunities available. Perth is often known as The Gateway To The Highlands. Among many fantastic things to do in this area are:

Boating on the River Tay

The Black Watch Castle

Kirk of St. John the Baptist

Scone Palace

PS: As I understand it, Scone is pronounced ‘Skoon’

Perth has plenty of pubs and restaurants to suit all tastes and budgets. There are plenty of places to stay too, both in the city and in the surrounding area. Personally, I stayed in The Station Hotel which is by the railway station. It’s an old hotel but feels quite homely and has very friendly staff. It’s on a short walk from the centre of town too.

The Racecourse

Perth is a right-handed oval flat track of 1m 2f with tight bends. There are eight fences (and hurdles) on each circuit including a water jump in front of the stands (omitted on final circuit).

The course stages only NH racing.

The Clerk Of The Course is currently Harriet Graham.

The telephone number of the course is 01738 551597.

Getting There

Driving to Perth Racecourse isn’t difficult though I would advise avoiding the city centre if possible as it seems to get really busy. That was certainly my experience. The postcode for your satnav is PH2 6BB. IF NOT USING satnav then following signs for Scone Palace will get you close. Parking is free.

The Railway Station is a fair old walk away (3-4 miles) but there are race day buses arranged by the racecourse.

Racecourse Facilities

There are just two enclosures at Perth. The Centre Course enclosure is used only for weekend meetings.

Disabled access to everywhere looks excellent and there are raised platforms for both viewing the racing and at the parade ring.

The course is very flat and aside from the big screen, viewing from the grandstand is very good as a result.

I am impressed by the food and drink available on the course to suit everyone. I understand that the restaurant at the top of the Nelson Stand is excellent with a view over the course to die for. Quite modestly I had pie and chips from Vinegar Joe’s takeaway and that did perfectly for me.

Everything here seems so plentiful and it’s such a friendly and easy place to be.

My Day

This is another lovely Scottish racecourse, I really enjoyed myself again.

The feature of the day for me was seeing and hearing a Scottish Piper lead the jockeys from the weighing room into the parade ring. These pictures aren’t brilliant but will give you the idea:

Another thing that impressed me was that on such a hot day, the course had a couple of large containers on the course with complimentary bottle of cold water. A nice touch and much needed.

A good day on the betting front. Three bets yielding two winners and a second (backed each way)

The betting for the first race on the card, a novice hurdle was dominated by ‘My Brother’ and newcomer over hurdles and making his first start for Neil Mulholland having been previously trained on the flat. Ridden by Tom Scudamore, he was clearly expected to beat a moderate bunch. Against him I bet the Richard Fahey trained Judge Earle, ridden my Brian Hughes. He’d had a few runs over hurdles without winning but looked the best of those to have run and at 3/1 (returned 11/4) he looked value to beat the newcomer and duly obliged and won very easily indeed.

In the fifth race I had backed a horse called ‘Cooking Fat’ the night before also at 3/1. It was mostly because he came out top on all the speed ratings and I also couldn’t get remotely excited about any of the opposition and easily ruled them out. In hindsight, I can see reasons why I could have ruled my horse out too but didn’t and just as well as he won (returned 13/8F)

Sandwiched between the two, Perfect timing finished 2nd for me at 5/1 without ever looking like winning.

So collected off all three bets and left the course feeling very happy with my work.

So it’s a long drive home in the morning, six and a half hours I believe.

I’m grateful for my little visit to Scotland, I was treated very well indeed and will return soon enough to explore in more detail the areas I have really only just passed through this time. I am genuine when I say that the courses I visited, while perhaps not having the same depth of quality in the racing they stage as courses like Newmarket, Cheltenham, Ascot etc, they certainly have the right idea as regards providing a good day out for the racegoer, no question about that. I am coming back in September to visit Kelso and Ayr and really cannot wait now.

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