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Newmarket Racecourse, which has a capacity of 45,000, 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 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.
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.
- 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)
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.
- 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.
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.
|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||Princess Royal Stakes||Rowley||Group 3||1m 4f||3yo+ f|
|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.
(Location of Carpark)
- Whyte, James Christie (1840). History of the British turf, from the earliest period to the present day, Volume I. London: H. Colburn. Retrieved 1 May 2013.
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