Newmarket Racecourse

Last updated

Newmarket
Newmarket Racecourse logo.jpg
Location Suffolk, England
Owned by Jockey Club Racecourses
Date opened1667;354 years ago (1667)
Screened on Racing TV
Course type Flat
Official website
The Rowley Mile Racecourse, Newmarket, UK The Rowley Mile Racecourse, Newmarket, UK.jpg
The Rowley Mile Racecourse, Newmarket, UK
The Rowley Mile track used for the 2000 Guineas in Newmarket, UK The Rowley Mile track used for the 2000 Guineas in Newmarket, UK.jpg
The Rowley Mile track used for the 2000 Guineas in Newmarket, UK
A view of The July Course track, Newmarket, UK A view of The July Course track, Newmarket, UK.jpg
A view of The July Course track, Newmarket, UK
The Rowley Mile entrance, Newmarket, UK The Rowley Mile entrance, Newmarket, UK.jpg
The Rowley Mile entrance, Newmarket, UK
A view of The Rowley Mile from The July Course, Newmarket, UK A view of The Rowley Mile from The July Course, Newmarket, UK.jpg
A view of The Rowley Mile from The July Course, Newmarket, UK

Newmarket Racecourse is a British Thoroughbred horse racing venue in Newmarket, Suffolk, comprising two individual racecourses: the Rowley Mile and the July Course. Newmarket is often referred to as the headquarters of British horseracing and is home to the largest cluster of training yards in the country [1] and many key horse racing organisations, including Tattersalls, the National Horseracing Museum and the National Stud. [1] Newmarket hosts two of the country's five Classic Races - the 1,000 Guineas and 2,000 Guineas, and numerous other Group races. In total, it hosts 9 of British racing's 36 annual Group 1 races.

Contents

History

Racing in Newmarket was recorded in the time of James I. The racecourse itself was founded in 1636. [2] Around 1665, Charles II inaugurated the Newmarket Town Plate and in 1671 became the first and only reigning monarch to ride a winner. [2] King Charles was known to attend races on Newmarket Heath with his brother, the future James II. The first recorded race was a match for £100 between horses owned by Lord Salisbury and Marquess of Buckingham in 1622. [2]

Up until 1744, the two most valuable races run at the course were the King's Plate and the Town Plate. Two more Plate races were added in that year, paid for by local traders, both worth 50 guineas - one was a race for five-year-olds carrying 9 stone, one was an open age race in four mile heats. Another paid for by landowners was a four-year-old race over four miles, each carrying 8 stone 7 lbs. At that time, formal races at Newmarket only took place twice a year - once in April, once in October. A second Spring meeting was added in 1753. [3]

By 1840, there were seven annual meetings: [4] [3]

Layout

Newmarket Racecourse is made up of two courses - the Rowley Mile Course (named after Old Rowley the favourite racehorse of King Charles II [5] ) and the July Course. Both are wide, galloping tracks used for Flat racing only, each with a capacity just over 20,000, though this is rarely met.

Technically, there is also a third course, the Round Course, but this is only used once a year for the Newmarket Town Plate, a race of great historical significance, but limited importance in modern day racing.

The Rowley Mile is used for racing in the Spring and Autumn, and hosts the majority of the Group 1 races staged at Newmarket, including the 2000 & 1000 Guineas. Up until 2010, it was the home of the Champion Stakes, Pride Stakes and Jockey Club Cup, which are now run as the Champion Stakes, British Champions Fillies' and Mares' Stakes and British Champions Long Distance Cup at Ascot on British Champions Day. The wide nature of the track means it is able to host races such as the Cambridgeshire Handicap and the Cesarewitch Handicap , which both have a maximum field size of 35, making them the largest fields for races in the UK after the Grand National. In 2005, the Rowley Mile hosted the now defunct Ascot Festival, the premier race of which was the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, whilst the new grandstand at Ascot was being constructed.

The July Course is used in Summer, and hosts 2 Group 1 races, the July Cup and the Falmouth Stakes, both of which are run at the July Festival, the premier meeting staged at the July Course. The course is also used for several evening meetings a year, with live music after racing - these often draw a sellout crowd and are typically the highest attended of any meetings held at Newmarket throughout the year. In 1999 the entire Newmarket programme was moved to the July Course whilst the new Millennium Grandstand at the Rowley Mile was being constructed. In 2008, due to waterlogging at York, several races from the Ebor Festival were staged at the July Course, including three Group 1 races - the Yorkshire Oaks, the Nunthorpe and the Juddmonte International.

Both courses have grass airstrips for use by light aircraft, and it was taking off from one of these in June 2000 that a Piper Seneca plane carrying jockeys Ray Cochrane and Frankie Dettori crashed, killing the pilot and injuring both jockeys. The plane was headed for Goodwood in Sussex. Cochrane received the Queen's Commendation for Bravery in 2002 for saving Dettori's life. The airstrips on the Rowley Mile were used during the Second World War by the Royal Air Force (RAF) as RAF Newmarket- the most important races were moved to the July Course during this period, which was the only racecourse in the UK that remained operational throughout the war.

The Devil's Dyke runs past the edge of the July course. About half of the racecourse complex, including the July and Cesarewitch/Beacon courses, is actually in the neighbouring county of Cambridgeshire.

Historically, there are various names that have been given to courses or parts of courses at Newmarket, and some are still in use today to describe particular race distances. Whyte's History of the British Turf (1840), for instance, lists the Beacon Course, Round Course, Audley End Course, Clermont Course, Ancaster Mile, Rowley Mile, Abingdon Mile, Bunbury Mile, Ditch Mile and Yearling Course. [7]

In the late 19th and early 20th Century Newmarket also had a National Hunt course. The Links Gallops uses the course today and some of the buildings still stand adjacent to the Gallops and nearby road.

Notable races

MonthDOWRace NameCourseGradeDistanceAge/Sex
AprilWednesday Feilden Stakes RowleyListed1m 1f 3yo only
AprilWednesday European Free Handicap RowleyHandicap7f 3yo only
AprilWednesday Nell Gwyn Stakes RowleyGroup 37f 3yo only f
AprilThursday Abernant Stakes RowleyGroup 36f 3yo +
AprilThursday Earl of Sefton Stakes RowleyGroup 31m 1f 4yo +
AprilThursday Craven Stakes RowleyGroup 31m 3yo only
MaySaturday Jockey Club Stakes RowleyGroup 21m 4f 4yo +
MaySaturday 2,000 Guineas Stakes RowleyGroup 11m 3yo only
MaySaturday Palace House Stakes RowleyGroup 35f 3yo +
MaySaturday Newmarket Stakes RowleyListed1m 2f 3yo only
MaySunday 1,000 Guineas Stakes RowleyGroup 11m 3yo only f
MaySunday Pretty Polly Stakes RowleyListed1m 2f 3yo only f
MaySunday Dahlia Stakes RowleyGroup 31m 1f 4yo + f
MaySaturday Fairway Stakes RowleyListed1m 2f 3yo only
JuneSaturday Criterion Stakes RowleyGroup 37f 3yo +
JulyThursday Sir Henry Cecil Stakes JulyListed1m 3yo only
JulyThursday Bahrain Trophy JulyGroup 31m 5f 3yo only
JulyThursday Princess of Wales's Stakes JulyGroup 21m 4f 3yo +
JulyThursday July Stakes JulyGroup 26f 2yo only
JulyFriday Falmouth Stakes JulyGroup 11m 3yo + f
JulyFriday Duchess of Cambridge Stakes JulyGroup 26f 2yo only f
JulySaturday Superlative Stakes JulyGroup 27f 2yo only
JulySaturday Bunbury Cup JulyHandicap7f 3yo +
JulySaturday July Cup JulyGroup 16f 3yo +
AugustSaturday Hopeful Stakes JulyListed6f 3yo +
AugustSaturday Sweet Solera Stakes JulyGroup 37f 2yo only f
SeptemberThursday Somerville Tattersall Stakes RowleyGroup 37f 2yo only
SeptemberFriday Princess Royal Stakes RowleyGroup 31m 4f3yo+ f
SeptemberFriday Joel Stakes RowleyGroup 21m 3yo +
SeptemberFriday Fillies' Mile RowleyGroup 11m 2yo only f
SeptemberFriday Oh So Sharp Stakes RowleyGroup 37f 2yo only f
SeptemberSaturday Cambridgeshire Handicap RowleyHandicap1m 1f 3yo +
SeptemberSaturday Sun Chariot Stakes RowleyGroup 11m 3yo + f
SeptemberSaturday Royal Lodge Stakes RowleyGroup 21m 2yo only
SeptemberSaturday Cheveley Park Stakes RowleyGroup 16f 2yo only f
OctoberSaturday Challenge Stakes RowleyGroup 27f 3yo +
OctoberSaturday Cesarewitch Handicap RowleyHandicap2m 2f 3yo +
OctoberSaturday Zetland Stakes RowleyGroup 31m 2f 2yo only
OctoberSaturday Autumn Stakes RowleyGroup 31m 2yo only
OctoberSaturday Rockfel Stakes RowleyGroup 27f 2yo only f
OctoberSaturday Dewhurst Stakes RowleyGroup 17f 2yo only
OctoberSaturday Darley Stakes RowleyGroup 31m 1f 3yo +
OctoberSaturday Middle Park Stakes RowleyGroup 16f 2yo only

The King's Plate (or Queen's Plate) was a major race run between 1634 and 1765.

Locations

52°13′51.1″N0°22′56.1″E / 52.230861°N 0.382250°E / 52.230861; 0.382250 (Location of Carpark)

52°14′15″N0°22′28″E / 52.23750°N 0.37444°E / 52.23750; 0.37444 (Rowley Mile)

52°13′47.5″N0°21′43.5″E / 52.229861°N 0.362083°E / 52.229861; 0.362083 (July Course)

See also


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References

  1. 1 2 Kay, Joyce; Vamplew, Wray (2005). "Newmarket". Encyclopedia of British Horse Racing. Routledge. pp. 205–207. ISBN   9781135762667.
  2. 1 2 3 Barrett, Norman (1995). The Daily Telegraph Chronicle of Horse Racing. Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Publishing. p. 8.
  3. 1 2 Whyte, James Christie (1840). History of the British Turf- from the Earliest Period to the Present Day. London: H Colburn. pp.  400–401.
  4. Whyte, James Christie (1840). History of the British Turf- from the Earliest Period to the Present Day. London: H Colburn. pp.  205–209.
  5. https://www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/planning/Conservation/upload/NMKTCAACH2_5to11.pdf
  6. 1 2 Timeform. Racecourse Maps Flat (Report). Portman Press. p. 1.
  7. Whyte, James Christie (1840). History of the British Turf- from the Earliest Period to the Present Day. London: H Colburn. p.  213.

Bibliography