Thirsk and its surrounding area

Thirsk is a small market town close to the Yorkshire Dales in North Yorkshire. Famously it was home to Vet and author James Herriot. It is also the birthplace of Thomas Lord after whom Lords Cricket Ground is named. It’s proximity to the Yorkshire Dales helps it attract a lot of tourists each year.

Other than visiting the Yorkshire Dales, there are a few other things to do when visiting Thirsk:

St Mary’s Church

Falconry UK Thirsk Birds of Prey Centre –

World of James Herriot –

Thirsk Museum

Thirsk is also quite handily positioned to explore Yorkshire generally and is particularly close to York.

The Racecourse

Thirsk racecourse hosts only flat racing.

Thirsk is a left-handed oval and sharp track of about 1m2f with 4f run-in. The track is almost perfectly level with relatively easy turns. There is an extension to the home straight for races of 5f and 6f.

There is a massive advantage for those drawn high in sprints on good or firm ground though this bias seems to disappear  when the ground turns soft. In races over 7f (one turn) there is usually some advantage in being drawn low. Again this is most noticeable on good or firm ground and disappears when the ground becomes soft.

Clerk of the course: James Sanderson

Course telephone number: 01845 522276

Getting Here

Thirsk is just under 225 miles from Central London, 150 miles from Birmingham, 4 miles from Leeds and 88 miles from Manchester.

The course itself is just west the town on the A61 Ripon Road

The course post code is YO7 1QL

Course parking is free.

The nearest railway station is Thirsk just a mile from the course. There is a courtesy bus runs too and from the course commencing two hours before racing.

Racecourse facilities

Course website:

Disabled access: There was parking set aside for disability drivers near the entrance / exit of the Paddock Car Park. There is also a large raised section near the rails in the Paddock Enclosure set aside for disabled viewing.

There are three enclosures at Thirsk Racecourse. They are The Premier Enclosure, The Paddock Enclosure and The Family Enclosure. Of these, there is only a dress code requirement (smart casual) in The Premier Enclosure.

The area behind the enclosures is well laid out given that it is a relatively small space compared to some racecourses. It includes a small bandstand and there was some entertainment laid on before this evenings racing.

As is commonly the case at racecourses, there is plenty of food and drink available throughout the venue to suit all tastes and budgets. The feature is the Dine and View Restaurant where you can eat with views of the racecourse and the action as it unfolds. It looks fabulous but isn’t cheap. We made our way into the Cherry Tree Lawn Bar for a burger and a pint. The burger was very nice indeed, I must say.

Later in the evening, we went to the Public Coffee room which served excellent coffee and a nice selection of homemade cakes.

My Day Today

Not my first visit the Thirsk but it’s got to be 20 years since my previous. I couldn’t help but be impressed with the friendliness of all the staff here, when we arrived, while we were there and as we left. I went with my Sister and Brother-In-Law, who live locally and that made the evening a bit nicer.

I wasn’t overly excited by the racing fare on offer though did take an interest in three races, betting in two.

Race 2 was a Nursery (A handicap for 2yo) over 6f. My pal @genuinetriers had mentioned one called ‘Giacomo Casanova’ earlier in the afternoon on his twitter feed and I had a look. His three runs to date hadn’t set any pulses racing but now in a handicap for the first time and on a reasonable mark was worth a small each way bet at the 11/1 prevailing at that time. In the end he finished 3rd of the stand side group and sixth overall, beaten 4 3/4 lengths without getting a serious challenge. I will leave it to better judges to evaluate the value of that form.

The 4th race, a Novice Stakes for 3yo+ fillies included my second selection ‘Alexana’. She had won her debut at Lingfield well enough and her trainers horses are going well right now. She was the only previous winner in the field and I could only fault each of the opposition for differing reason. The betting on course suggested that the second favourite ‘Impromptu’ from the Roger Varian yard was also well fancied and so it proved to be. ‘Alexana’ chased the leader for most of the race and was ridden by her jockey fully two furlongs out and took a while to go past the leader. ‘Inpromptu’ was produced over 1f out and stayed on well to win inside the last to win by 2 lengths. Again, I will leave it to others to evaluate the value of the form.

So that was that, I took no further interest. I had been interested in the Varian horse in the 6th race but found too many reasons not to bet and made the correct decision.

So yesterdays small profit became todays small loss and we go to Beverley tomorrow and do it all again!

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