Scottish Harness Racing

Scottish Harness Racing

 
 
 

Scottish Harness Racing ©

 


 Corbiewood

2008 Stats
 

Corbiewood was built in the early 1960s by haulage contractor brothers James and Daniel Taylor.  Corbiewood lies on the site of the Muiralehouse Wood on the East Side of the village of Bannockburn, Stirling.  The site which is now known as the car park was once a fresh water spring which would annually freeze over each winter and the locals had there very own skating rink.

 
Jimmy and Danny Taylor originally developed Corby Wood (as it was known then) as a training track for there own horses.  This future of Corby Wood took a bizarre twist as the track on the outskirts of Glasgow (Stepps) and the local track in Stirling (Quarry Park) were about to close.  Jimmy and Danny saw Corby Wood as an ideal alternative for staging Harness Racing in the local area.  In May of 1966 Corbiewood racetrack was born.  The advertising posters at the time all proclaimed:
 
"American style harness racing with £250 in total prize money"
 

Race meetings were held every Thursday and over the years different days were tried.  However, Thursday was always ‘Corbiewood Day’ and this continues to be the case nearly 50 years on.   
Races were originally contested over the distances of 1 mile 170 yards and 1 mile 70 yards.  With the track extension in the 80s the race distance became primarily over 1 mile.
The first ever cup to appear at Corbiewood was the Tennant Caledonian cup.  This was initially contested by trotters but they lacked popularity and therefore the pacers had the pleasure of competing for it.
Roughly 16 bookmakers from various parts of Scotland attended Corbiewood each week and none more colourful than the Edinburgh native James "Heppy" Hepburn.  On commentating duties was the local magistrate Hon James Merrilees Miller who was always nattily attired in Highland Dress.  Present commentator is David Douglas who is arguably the best in the U.K.   

 
Action from a race at Corbiewood in 1999.
 
Currently the racing season at Corbiewood generally runs each Thursday night from the beginning of May through to the end of September.  On average there are 6-7 races each Thursday night usually including either a final for heat winners or a consolation race for non winners on the night.  The track is strongly supported by 6 bookies with whom the public can bet a horse which will hopefully win resulting in a nice little profit for the punter.
The track itself is smaller than the more common half mile oval track.  It takes almost 3 laps to complete a mile at Corbiewood.  It’s approximately 660yards in lap length and approx 45 yards wide in the straights.  The spectators are very close to the action at Corbiewood making the experience very exhilarating whilst creating a very unique atmosphere.  The surface of the track is red blaze which is generally well received by the Drivers and Trainers.
 
Since the introduction of Corbiewood, Harness Racing tracks have sprouted up throughout Scotland, notably at Motherwell and the Gyle Raceway in Corstorphine.  Unfortunately none of these tracks could rival Corbiewood and Corbiewood is now the only Hard Track Harness Racing facility in Scotland.  Throughout the years it has been rumoured that Corbiewood will follow suit and close its doors but thankfully this hasn’t happened.  Over the last 50 years Corbiewood has had its highs and lows but thanks to the support of owners, trainers, drivers, public and the many volunteers who give up their time each week Corbiewood is still surviving. 
 

Current Corbiewood track record holder Doonbeg shown breaking the record on September 18th 2010 in 1.59.6.  He is owned by Porterstown Stud, trained by Christy Dunne and driven by Geoff Dunne.

 

 

 
 
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