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Top 10 Racecourses in the UK

Britain is home to 60 flat and national hunt racecourses, including 17 racetracks that provide both disciplines. Although they all have their own features that make them a part of our rich horse racing heritage, which are considered as the top 10 racecourses in the UK and why?

1. Cheltenham
Opened in 1815, historic Cheltenham racecourse is set in 350 acres of beautiful Cotswolds countryside. Famous for the four-day Cheltenham Festival each March, it hosts some of the top national hunt racing in the UK and regularly attracts crowds of around 68,000 people, making it the world's most popular national hunt meeting venue.

2. Ascot
Located in scenic countryside next to Windsor Park, Ascot racecourse has a capacity of 70,000 and dates back to 1711, when it was founded by Queen Anne. It has maintained its royal links ever since and is considered the mainstay of British horse racing, welcoming Queen Elizabeth II and other members of the royal family to a five-day festival every summer.

3. York
Historic records show evidence of horse racing at this site dating back to 1530, so it's a famous heritage site and tourist attraction, as well as a top racecourse. Located on historic Tadcaster Road, York is four-times winner of the Best Racecourse in Britain. The highlight of the flat racing track's annual calendar is the Ebor Festival every August.

4. Aintree
No top 10 racecourses list would be complete without Aintree! As the home of the world-famous Grand National (which was first held in 1839), this is the longest jumps race in the UK and attracts record TV viewing figures and crowds of more than 70,000 each year. It is the most high-profile event in horse racing across the world.

5. Newmarket
With a capacity of 45,000, Newmarket racecourse is located in Newmarket, Suffolk. It dates back to 1622, when historical records mark the first race - which was between horses owned by the Marquess of Buckingham and Lord Salisbury. Today, it hosts two of the UK's five Classic Races - the 2,000 Guineas and the 1,000 Guineas - and is also home to nine of Britain's 32 annual group one races.

6. Goodwood
Glorious Goodwood! Set in the 12,000-acre grounds of Goodwood Estate, this racecourse overlooks the beautiful Sussex Downs near Chichester. Famous for its unique track undulations and for hosting the Goodwood festival each year - this event began in 1802, when the Duke of Richmond first introduced horse racing for local army officers stationed around Goodwood - today the racecourse attracts an average 20,000 people per day.

7. Haydock
Located in parkland in Merseyside, Haydock Park hosts both flat and jumps races and is most famous for the Betfair Chase in November - the first race of the £1 million Chase Triple Crown that also includes the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the King George at Kempton. The current course opened in 1899 and the spectators' facilities include a champagne bar.

8. Doncaster
This multipurpose track hosts both national hunt and flat racing, with 36 meetings being held throughout the year. Famous for hosting the St Leger, which is the oldest flat classic race which dates back to 1776, Doncaster is one of the UK's oldest racecourses, with records showing its presence at Town Moor in 1595. The corporation tried to end race meetings in 1600, amid fears they would attract "ruffians". However, in 1614, the site was marked out as an official racecourse after the sport's popularity grew.

9. Windsor
Located in 165 acres of Berkshire countryside in southern England, Windsor racecourse is set out in a unique figure-of-eight shape to allow the flat races to be run in a smaller area. It has hosted race meetings since 1866, including the famous Winter Hill Stakes - the highlight of the racing calendar. Queen Elizabeth II visits the course when she is in residence at Windsor Castle and her horses have made appearances there.

10. Newbury
Newbury hosts both flat and national hunt races and has been in existence since 1905, in an area known as the Greenham. It hosts the famous Lockhinge Stakes over a one-mile course - famously won by Frankel in 2012 - and also a major national hunt meeting each November, featuring the Hennessy Gold Cup. Queen Elizabeth II spent her 86th birthday at Newbury, when two of her horses took part in the races.

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