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Wroclaw Racecourse history

Marta Nowakowska

Wroclaw Racecourse at Partynice, designed by R. Jurgens of Hamburg, was opened in 1907 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Silesian Horse Breeders’ and Horse Racing Association. It replaced a racecourse at Szczytniki (wehere the Centennial Hall is situated today) which was founded in 1833.

In interwar Poland Wroclaw Racecourse enjoyed great popularity among racegoers, and horse races were held here even during the Second World War – until 1941. After the war Partynice re-opened in 1952 when the course staged an exhibition race as part of an equestrian show. In July 1953 the first regular racing season after World War II started, and in the following years the number of horses grew constantly.

Initially, Arab horses domintated the scene and all major races for this breed took place in Wroclaw. Poland’s greatest jockey, Mieczyslaw Melnicki, made his debut in one of those Arab horse races in Wroclaw. At that time Wroclaw Racecourse was very popular among racegoers, not only locally; there was no off-track betting yet and crowds of racefans from Upper Silesia poured into Wroclaw.

Wroclaw Racecourse was booming in 1954-56; for example, in 1955 it staged 28 race meetings featuring no less than 226 races. However, prosperity came to an end soon, and in 1961-62 not a single race was run in Wroclaw. But crowds again filled the Partynice grandstand to capacity in 1969 when Wroclaw hosted the Communist Block Countries Meeting. The best Thoroughbreds from Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, GDR, Poland, Hungary, and the Soviet Union took part, and the Polish Thoroughbreds were very successful taking second spot overall.

Another revival of Wroclaw Racecourse took place in the early 1970s and had lasted uninteruptedly for some twenty years. The pure-bred Arab horses were replaced by half-breds which were raced at Partynice till 2012. Principal races for this breed included the Derby and the Oaks.

After the Second World War Wroclaw Racecourse was part of the State owned enterprise which included Warsaw’s Sluzewiec and Sopot. In the mid-1990s, after the political system transformation in Poland, the course was taken over by the Wroclaw Commune.

In 2013, due to the efforts of the Lower Silesia Horse Racing Society, the first regular season of Thoroughbred horse racing (flat and jump) opened a new chapter in the history of Wroclaw Racecourse which also has races for Arab horses and French Trotters (raced here since 2004).

Wroclaw Racecourse is home of the Wielka Wroclawska Steeplechase, the Wielka Partynicka Hurdle and the Oaks (2014 and 2015).

In 2016 the first running of the Crystal Cup took place at Wroclaw Racecourse.