Newmarket Racecourse

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Newmarket
Newmarket Racecourse logo.jpg
Location Suffolk, England
Owned by Jockey Club Racecourses
Screened on Racing UK
Course type Flat
Official website
The Rowley Mile Racecourse, Newmarket, UK
The Rowley Mile track used for the 2000 Guineas in Newmarket, UK
A view of The July Course track, Newmarket, UK
The Rowley Mile entrance, Newmarket, UK
A view of The Rowley Mile from The July Course, Newmarket, UK

Newmarket Racecourse, which has a capacity of 45,000,[1] is a British Thoroughbred horse racing venue in the town of Newmarket, Suffolk. Newmarket is often referred to as the headquarters of British horseracing and is home to the largest cluster of training yards in the country[citation needed] and many key horse racing organisations, including Tattersalls, the National Horseracing Museum and the National Stud. The racecourse 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 32 annual Group 1 races.

History[edit]

Racing in Newmarket was recorded in the time of James I. Charles II was known to attend races on Newmarket Heath with his brother, the future James II. 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.[2]

By 1840, there were seven annual meetings:[3][2]

  • The Craven Meeting - a week, beginning Easter Monday (inaugurated 1771)
  • 1st Spring Meeting - a week, beginning Easter Monday fortnight (inaugurated pre-1744)
  • 2nd Spring Meeting - a week, beginning Easter Monday month (inaugurated 1753)
  • July Meeting - a few days, around 10 July (inaugurated 1765)
  • 1 October Meeting - a week, beginning Monday before the first Thursday in October (inaugurated pre-1744)
  • 2 October Meeting - a week, beginning Monday before the third Thursday in October (inaugurated 1762)
  • Houghton Meeting - a few days, beginning two weeks later (inaugurated in 1770)

Layout[edit]

Newmarket, in fact, has two courses - the Rowley Mile Course and the July Course. Both are wide, galloping tracks used for Flat racing only.

  • The Rowley Mile Course has a 1 mile 2 furlong (2 km) straight with minor undulations towards 'The Bushes', two furlongs (400 m) out. The penultimate furlong (200 m) is downhill and the last is uphill, forming 'The Dip'. Races beyond the distance of 1m 2f start on the 'Cesarewitch' or 'Beacon' course which turns right-handed into the straight.[4]
  • The July Course, also sometimes called the Summer Course, has a 1 mile (1600 m) straight, known as 'The Bunbury Mile'. After 2 furlongs (400 m), there is a long downhill stretch before the uphill furlong (200 m) to the finish. This course also uses the 'Cesarewitch/Beacon' course for longer distances, again turning right into the straight.[4]

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, while the July Course is used in Summer. The Rowley Mile has a grass strip used by light aircraft, and formerly by the Royal Air Force (RAF) as RAF Newmarket.

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, Banbury Mile, Ditch Mile and Yearling Course.[5]

Notable races[edit]

Month DOW Race Name Course Grade Distance Age/Sex
April Wednesday Feilden Stakes Rowley Listed 1m 1f 3yo only
April Wednesday European Free Handicap Rowley Handicap 7f 3yo only
April Wednesday Nell Gwyn Stakes Rowley Group 3 7f 3yo only f
April Thursday Abernant Stakes Rowley Group 3 6f 3yo +
April Thursday Earl of Sefton Stakes Rowley Group 3 1m 1f 4yo +
April Thursday Craven Stakes Rowley Group 3 1m 3yo only
May Saturday Jockey Club Stakes Rowley Group 2 1m 4f 4yo +
May Saturday 2,000 Guineas Stakes Rowley Group 1 1m 3yo only
May Saturday Palace House Stakes Rowley Group 3 5f 3yo +
May Saturday Newmarket Stakes Rowley Listed 1m 2f 3yo only
May Sunday 1,000 Guineas Stakes Rowley Group 1 1m 3yo only f
May Sunday Pretty Polly Stakes Rowley Listed 1m 2f 3yo only f
May Sunday Dahlia Stakes Rowley Group 3 1m 1f 4yo + f
May Saturday Fairway Stakes Rowley Listed 1m 2f 3yo only
June Saturday Criterion Stakes Rowley Group 3 7f 3yo +
July Thursday Sir Henry Cecil Stakes July Listed 1m 3yo only
July Thursday Bahrain Trophy July Group 3 1m 5f 3yo only
July Thursday Princess of Wales's Stakes July Group 2 1m 4f 3yo +
July Thursday July Stakes July Group 2 6f 2yo only
July Friday Falmouth Stakes July Group 1 1m 3yo + f
July Friday Duchess of Cambridge Stakes July Group 2 6f 2yo only f
July Saturday Superlative Stakes July Group 2 7f 2yo only
July Saturday Bunbury Cup July Handicap 7f 3yo +
July Saturday July Cup July Group 1 6f 3yo +
August Saturday Hopeful Stakes Rowley Listed 6f 3yo +
August Saturday Sweet Solera Stakes Rowley Group 3 7f 2yo only f
September Thursday Somerville Tattersall Stakes Rowley Group 3 7f 2yo only
September Friday Joel Stakes Rowley Group 2 1m 3yo +
September Friday Fillies' Mile Rowley Group 1 1m 2yo only f
September Friday Oh So Sharp Stakes Rowley Group 3 7f 2yo only f
September Saturday Cambridgeshire Handicap Rowley Handicap 1m 1f 3yo +
September Saturday Sun Chariot Stakes Rowley Group 1 1m 3yo + f
September Saturday Royal Lodge Stakes Rowley Group 2 1m 2yo only
September Saturday Cheveley Park Stakes Rowley Group 1 6f 2yo only f
October Saturday Challenge Stakes Rowley Group 2 7f 3yo +
October Saturday Cesarewitch Handicap Rowley Handicap 2m 2f 3yo +
October Saturday Autumn Stakes Rowley Group 3 1m 2yo only
October Saturday Rockfel Stakes Rowley Group 2 7f 2yo only f
October Saturday Dewhurst Stakes Rowley Group 1 7f 2yo only
October Saturday Darley Stakes Rowley Group 3 1m 1f 3yo +
October Saturday Middle Park Stakes Rowley Group 1 6f 2yo only
November Saturday Zetland Stakes Rowley Listed 1m 2f 2yo only

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

Locations[edit]

52°13′51.1″N 0°22′56.1″E / 52.230861°N 0.382250°E / 52.230861; 0.382250 (Location of Carpark)

52°14′15″N 0°22′28″E / 52.23750°N 0.37444°E / 52.23750; 0.37444 (Rowley Mile)

52°13′47.5″N 0°21′43.5″E / 52.229861°N 0.362083°E / 52.229861; 0.362083 (July Course)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "StadiumZone". StadiumZone. 
  2. ^ a b Whyte 1840, pp. 400-401.
  3. ^ Whyte 1840, pp. 205-209.
  4. ^ a b Timeform. Racecourse Maps Flat (Report). Portman Press. p. 1. 
  5. ^ Whyte 1840, p. 213.

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]